It is time for a change. Homelessness is a rampant problem throughout Brazil. Squatters – whether individuals, families, or children – sleep on the streets in front of prominent businesses, hotels, in front of other people’s homes or in the growing number of homeless encampments. In their growing sense of despair and desperation, they call the streets of every Brazilian city home and do whatever is necessary – be it begging or stealing – to maintain those makeshift homes and struggle through their meager lives.
I am proposing a directive toward decreasing homelessness, beginning in Salvador, Bahia. By creating viable, “green”, low-cost housing that helps begin the process of removing people from the streets of Salvador and gives them living spaces they can truly call home, O Projeto de Habitção dos Desabrigados da Bahia (PHDB) (Bahia Homeless Housing Project) will provide the following assistance to the magnificent city of Salvador:
Housing – By purchasing ten to twelve* shelled out, currently abandoned buildings throughout the city and transforming these building shells into Environmentally Friendly housing facilities, educational facilities, and healthcare facilities for homeless children and adults, PHDB begins to lessen the number of homeless people squatting all over the city.
Employment Opportunities – Construction crews, maintenance teams, accountants, cooks, teachers, security guards, medical professionals, architects, designers and others will all be necessary and vital to the initial development and daily maintenance of each PHDB facility. During the first wave alone, this endeavor will employ approximately 200 individuals on both temporary contract and permanent full-time bases. As PHDB grows into itself, we anticipate employing thousands, including many of our formerly homeless residents.
Educational Opportunities – By creating free, quality educational centers, PHDB will give formerly homeless children an opportunity to learn skills that will help them to better themselves, which helps eliminate future homelessness. PHDB will also provide our formerly homeless adults an opportunity to learn skills such as reading, writing and trades (i.e. plumbing, electrician, construction) so that they can become viable members of society and can begin to end the cycle of homelessness in their lives. The potential and possibilities are endless, as are the benefits to the individuals helped and to Brazilian society as a whole.
Healthcare Facilities – PHDB anticipates that our constituents may have myriad health issues. PHDB’s healthcare facilities will be there to provide low and/or no-cost healthcare, rehabilitation services and emergency services to our residents and homeless people in general.
Beautification – This, in itself, is two-fold. By turning abandoned, shelled out, dilapidated buildings into beautiful, functional apartment buildings, schools and medical facilities, we remove eye-sores from the neighborhoods we inhabit. Additionally, by removing homeless people from the streets, PHDB will help bring out the true beauty of the incredible, historical city of Salvador by removing the sad faces of the city’s lost souls. Again, there are vast, endless possibilities to the boost this will have upon tourism, trade and the general moral of the city’s inhabitants.
Re-building of the Sense of National and Local Pride – Like everything powerful, meaningful and lasting, PHDB begins its endeavors in Salvador, Bahia – Brazil’s birthplace and sacred city. Additionally, PHDB will be funded 100% by YOU – local businesspeople who will show, through your contributions and actions, that you truly care about seeing a better Salvador and improving the lives of the city’s people. By showing that you are willing to take a stand toward changing the devastation that is homelessness and that you are willing to put your resources toward the use of renewable energies, beautifying your communities and manifesting positive change toward creating a better, stronger, less suffering Salvador, you also help your business to prosper. The business benefits include (but are not limited to):
1) Increased Revenue – As the consumer population of Salvador begins to see how YOUR business is contributing funds toward creating a viable solution to the homeless problem, more consumers will purchase your products and frequent your business. They’ll feel that their money is going toward a good cause and they’ll feel better for consuming your products and/or services. More money from happy consumers means more money for you. 2) Increased Exposure – As PHDB conducts benefits, builds its website, conducts local and worldwide media interviews and sets up all levels of media exposure (posters, magazine ads, etc.), your business gets increased exposure, which gives YOU the opportunity to grow your business and again, gain more revenue. 3) Increased Presence in your Communities – As PHDB gains esteem, so does your presence in the neighborhoods you serve. Think of PHDB as a way to have your business name shining in neon lights. Your name in the media, in print and posted at each construction site will have a lasting effect on the strength of your businesses community staying power.