Tags / Homelessness
Heriika S., 25, apologizes to her boyfriend. He helped her flee a rival favela after drug gangs made threats on her life. The women were joking about a rumor that there are rich Japanese businessmen wanting to marry for money.
Lenice, 53, speaking about her life. She's a nursing technician and used to make a decent wage but had troubles with depression after both her parents died in her care. She can't get a job because she doesn't have a fixed address and is behind on her union dues.
A good samaritan only known as Felipe (not pictured, refused to be identified) learned that it was David's (center) 1st birthday and bought him a cake. In a rare moment of joy, the homeless organized a makeshift birthday party for him. David was given to his grandmother, Vera Lucia, 65, (also not pictured) after his mother had no way of supporting him. David is not related to anyone else there.
Gracie, 25, began smoking cigarettes at age 11 after her grandmother would ask her to light hers on the stove for her. She smokes 3 packs a day when she can afford it. She never made it past the 3rd grade in school.
Kaue, 2, cries for his mother. His dad, Claudio "CG", 24, used to work selling drinks at favela funk parties. He claims to have been earning well over $3,000 USD a month; he owned multiple stands. He was living a comfortable middle class until police came in and shut the parties down. Now he's struggling to pay his $130 month rent.
A pregnant woman gives a friend a back massage at 2:00 AM as other sleep and rotate shifts. As some sleep, others stay awake to watch for police.
Andressa (alias), 20, posing for a portrait. Andressa spoke about leaving her boyfriend that day after he hit her. Despite this, they were seen cuddling 20 minutes later.
"I don't sleep ever." She said at 4:30 AM, embracing her boyfriend.
Hiogo, 23, (center) emaciated. Food was scarce in the camp and usually consisted of stale crackers obtained from the homeless shelter or pasta made at a friends house and brought over. Hiogo is a day laborer working construction and in recent months has struggled to find work.
Homeless women play cards to pass the time as they sit on their signs. Residents of a favela live effectively in a dictatorship run by drug gangs. The idea of using free speech to demand their rights is new to many of them.
Stephany B., 24, (right) does nails as they talk about politics. Stephany said she wants a house with a yard so she can do nails and earn a living from home.
On the morning of March 26th, 2015, roughly 100 families were forcibly evicted from their homes by police in an abandoned lot in downtown Rio De Janeiro. “If you don’t leave peacefully, you’ll leave when the bullets come down”, a police officer threatened, recalled M., a young black man who requested anonymity. By all accounts police were merciless in their eviction and went as far as confiscating simple things like hammers and pliers, allegedly for safety concerns.
Again homeless, the evicted families decided to sleep on the steps of City Hall and ensure their demands for affordable housing be heard. “People think we’re trying to rob them, but in fact we’re running away from that”, Fernando M., 48, said in desperation. Like Fernando, many of the evicted people were escaping the undeclared war between police and drug gangs in the city's Favelas, or slums. While the government does offer a growing number of public housing projects for the poor, few find them desirable to live in as they are still under the control of hostile drug gangs. Instead, these people set up homes in safer areas in the center of the city.
Other evictees were crushed by soaring rent stemming from Olympic makeovers in their communities. Fernando recalled his rent only a few years ago was R$200 ($65 USD) and now has ballooned to over R$500 ($160 USD). Others are simply unemployed due to a sagging economy. Stuck in a catch-22, many are now unemployable because they have no fixed address.
As the days passed, the echoes of their discontent landed on the deaf ears of a bureaucratic and incompetent local government. In the end, no official action was taken by the city to ameliorate their situation. They eventually left their makeshift occupation by City Hall one-by-one. On April 6th, the remaining dozen or so families that had not left earlier decided to abandon the camp. Many of them found temporary housing in shelters, a friend’s house or other clandestine encampments throughout out the city.
Despite their efforts, the evicted families improvised war of attrition with local authorities is lost and their grievances continue unanswered.
These photos offer an intimate portraite of some of Brazil's most neglected people.
Recently evicted from an abandoned lot in downtown Rio, a now homeless man begins to spontaneously pose for a portrait. Tensions were high as just hours earlier they were evicted at gunpoint from a plot belonging to the Rio de Janeiro state water company, CEDAE.
New construction projects tower over the ruble of recently bulldozed shacks. Over 100 families lived on this abandoned plot belonging to CEDAE, the state water company. This area was once blighted and is now being renovated for the Olympic games.
Homeless workers stand in attention at the steps of city hall as a meeting is called to discuss their housing situation. Behind them stands the Municipal Theater, which was remodeled at a cost of over $30 million dollars in 2010.
A pensive moment on the steps of city hall as recently displaced homeless workers rest after being evicted at 5 AM by police.
Homeless workers gather to hear proposed solutions from a mediator from the city council. Through donations, they managed to raise nearly $150 USD for diapers and food for the children. However, no permanent solution was found.
Landless workers occupied an abandoned lot outside Rio de Janeiro to protest a lack of public housing.
In Jerusalem, the Israeli Army has been destroying the family homes of militants as a form of collective punishment. This story explores what happens to those families after they have lost their home.
Text by Youssef Zbib
In October, 21-year-old Abdel Rahman Shalodi drove his car into a light rail train station on a line that connects Israeli settlements in Jerusalem. He killed a baby and a woman from Ecuador and wounded at least seven other people. This act was part of a recent series of attacks against Israelis, fueled in part by a religious conflict over the ownership of the holy site that Israelis call the Temple Mount and to which Palestinians refer as the Noble Sanctuary.
In retaliation for the attack, the Israeli government ordered the destruction of the Shalodi family’s apartment unit, located in the Silwan neighborhood near the disputed old center of Jerusalem. His mother, father and five siblings, are now without a home.
"Right now we are living in my brother-in-law’s apartment. He is in Jordan now and will come back in five months,” said Enas Shalodi, Abdel Rahman’s 43-year-old mother.
“We can only use the living room and one bedroom in the apartment in which we are staying, so the situation is a little difficult. Some of my children sleep at their grandmother's and some sleep here," she added.
The Israeli police have not left the family alone since the demolition. Police officers interrupted a reporter’s interview with Enas to inspect the apartment, something which has happened repeatedly since the family moved into their temporary residence.
“They came here when we moved in and said that we are not allowed to stay. [They show up whenever] a reporter comes here,”Enas said while her teenage daughter Nebras spoke with the police officers.
“The [Israeli police] are also threatening to demolish the home where we are staying now, which belongs to my brother-in-law (…) Since the demolition, approximately 34 days ago, they broke in here about 10 times,” Enas said.
Enas’s daughter Nebras finds it hard to deal with the family’s difficult circumstances.
“We have no computer, no TV, no devices and the house is too small. It is not enough," Nebras said.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has labeled the demolition of the family homes of militants as a “war crime.”
“Justifying punishment of people who are not responsible for a criminal act just because they might ‘support’ it would set a dangerous precedent which could come back to haunt Israelis,” reads a statement issued by HRW in November 2014. Israeli critics of this policy, on the other hand, argue that it is ineffective because, as figures show, the number of attacks by Palestinians against Israel increases following house demolitions.
Demolition to expand settlements
In addition to demolishing homes as a punitive measure, Israeli authorities also destroy Palestinian homes built without a permit. Palestinians in the West Bank, however, usually cannot obtain such permits even if they apply for them.
According to the pro-peace Israeli monitoring group B’Tselem, Israel has demolished 545 houses that belong to Palestinians in east Jerusalem between 2004 and 2014. This has made 2,115 people homeless. Some people take down their homes with their own hands in order to avoid paying demolition charges to Israeli authorities, according to the organization’s official website.
The Zeer family, made up of a mother, a father and five children, now lives in a cave after Israeli authorities razed their house twice, without giving them a clear explanation.
“Sometimes they [Israeli authorities] claim that this is an agricultural area. At other times they claim that we do not a have a [building] permit,” said 40-year-old Khalid al-Zeer. “It seems that they want to uproot us and ethnically cleanse the original inhabitants from this land and move in settlers that they have gathered from around the world.” The small community of Israeli settlers in Silwan has recently expanded as dozens of them moved into the neighborhood in October, with the help of a right-wing organization called Ateret Kohanim that promotes Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem. The organization considers this influx a legitimate return to a village established by Yemenite Jews in the 1880s known in Hebrew as Kfar Hashiloah, which disappeared in the 1920s.
Eli Hazan, a member of the Israeli Likud party, defended his government’s policy of building settlements in the West Bank.
“We are going to stay in [the West Bank], therefore we are going to build in these places,” Hazan said. “We remember what happened from 1948 to 1967. Jews could not go to East Jerusalem. They could not go to the Western Wall and Mount of Olives.”
From the Palestinian point of view, however, this will only lead to more grief.
“This suffering and the suffering of every Jerusalemite will not be over until the end of the occupation,” said Enas Shalodi.
Donning dapper navy blue uniforms and traditional caps, complete with pristine white gloves, a few of Bratislava’s homeless have revived the role of the traditional baggage porter.
Bratislava Railway Station is a dowdy, yet charming old building with scarce facilities and no modern equipment, making it less accessible to elderly people, families traveling with children, and people carrying heavy luggage. Getting to the train with heavy bags and baby strollers is a real challenge. Meanwhile, outside the train station approximately four to five thousand homeless people face harsh conditions with little chance of find work. A local NGO called Proti Prudu (Against the Stream) works with the homeless, providing them with a street paper called Nota Bene, that they offer to passers by in exchange for spare change. Now, they have launched an ingenious project offering part-time jobs to seven of the homeless they work with to attack both issues. They pay the porters for part-time work helping people with their bags, free of charge. These men who once depended completely on the help of others are finding a bit of much needed economic stability and a new sense of social pride by offering a much appreciated hand to others.
Having bought land in 1994, the Beik family spent 20 years constructing their dream home in Al Nafaq street, in Gaza city. In July 2014, during Israel's Operation Protective Edge, a missile struck the house and destroyed it. No one was injured, but 20 years of hard work was lost in one missile attack. After only 3 years living in the house, 28 people from 3 generations were made homeless and now live together in a small 300 sqm house.
This video shows the Beik family in their new found shelter and follows them to their old home, where they inspect the damage and come face to face with a shattered dream and 20 lost years of hard work.
I was shocked, I did not expect the destruction to be this severe. They told me that a part of the house was destroyed, they did not tell the severity of the situation because they wanted to spare our feelings. However, when I saw it, I did not imagine it too be like this, It was a huge shock for me.
Interviewer: How did you spend last night?
I spent it sitting all night with my children on my lap, scared because of the shelling and the destruction. Also, the night before, the bombing was very close to our area, so the children were really scared. [They are] not only my children, but my nephews too, we were all gathered together in one house.
Interviewer: What did you tell the children the noise was?
What could i tell them? I told them it is the neighbors making noise to calm them down. My children are very young, they do not know what a missile means or a plane means. My son is 3 years old and he comes and tells me, "mom there is a missile." He does not understand. he does not understand the danger of a missile, so I want to switch the terms that he is using. I tell him, no it is the neighbor, he threw a rock against the wall and we will no longer speak to this neighbor. What else could i possibly do?
Where is safety? My family's house is where we felt safe and secure, now it is gone, where should we go? My family do not know where to go, how are we going to follow them? We are all homeless.
May God help us, what did my parents do to deserve this? All their life they worked so hard to raise us and build this house. They starved themselves to build this house and feel safe.
I stopped thinking, what would I think about? A house we have been building since 1994, that we spent our lives collecting money for, gets destroyed in seconds. Even if they want to make it up for us, what could they possibly do to make up for all we put in this house?
There is a huge difference between this kitchen and my kitchen in that house. I built that kitchen in an american style, filled it with new machines, my fridge is new, everything is new. When I first came here, my relatives started bringing things for the kitchen each one brought something, just to be able to live here. I do not even have an oven, I do not own anything in this kitchen, all the stuff belong to my relatives, they put them here. There is a huge difference between my new, well organized kitchen, the kitchen that I made according to what I want, I prepared everything I like in that kitchen so I can live comfortably in this period of time when I grow old, and now we are homeless, accepting charity from people.
Instead of going into a nice bedroom, now we are sleeping here, and those mattresses we got them from the Red Cross.
On the day of the incident we were at the evening prayer, my husband and all my children went to the mosque and only the eldest one stayed here with us. He said he will stay and pray at home because the situation was already compacted and bombing was happening outside. My daughters and daughters in law were terrified of the bombing, so he said, "let me stay here, in case anything happens near us, we would feel safe because there is a man in the house."
Before we finished the evening prayer, we heard a bomb sound. We did not know where the sound came from, near our house there is a gym, so we thought it came from there. We stopped praying and we went to see where the sound came from, we did not know that the sound was in our house. It was a missile dropped from a drone, we went out to see, we thought it was in the gym, people started saying no it is in the al-Beik house. So I went out with my son and the daughters started screaming out of fear and terror. So I went out with my eldest son to look. The house was two parts, so I went to check the other part and I saw smoke and nobody was able to see. It was also dark because there was no electricity, which made it much scarier for us. We had a small lightbulb, and then my son came and told me, "mother the missile hit our house take the women and the children and go down quickly." We told him we do not have anything with us, he told us to hurry.
We took the women and the children and we went running down the stairs barefoot. I was dressed the same way I am dressed now, we were running and I have knee problems, so it was very hard for me to run down the stairs. God helped me to go down quickly and got out. One of my daughters has a nerve decease, she is simple minded, does not understand everything. So when we had to run I grabbed her and pulled her and told her to go down quickly, but she was insisting on getting her shoes. I told her leave the shoes, just go down. She left me, but I thought she had went down with the rest. When we went down, we started knocking on doors to hide in someone's house, but no one opened, everyone was afraid and locked up in their homes. Eventually someone opened for us and when we went in we started checking up on everyone. One of my daughters screamed, my sister Rania is not here. My sick daughter, so I said I brought her with me, they said, "she is not here mother!" I turned to my son and told him, we cannot find your sister, she is not here. So we started looking for my daughter, we were terrified and we thought she was gone. Her brother started looking and all the men started looking.
After a while, apparently she went down from the house on her own and stood at the entrance, so a young man from the neighborhood saw here and brought her to us. I asked her, `'where were you my daughter?" She said, "I went to get my shoes". I told her " didn't I tell you to come down with me?" she said :" I went to find my shoes and a missile was dropped from the ceiling" . The poor girl, went to drink water because she was afraid, and then she went down to sit in the apartment in the lower floor. She did not know what is happening while were were looking for her outside. So when the young man came and took her and brought her to us while her brother was shouting her name, so she answered him while the guy was bringing her up, and she said "you are calling me?'', so her brother said, "yes Rania come here."
After that we left the house we were hiding in because it was close to where the bombing was happening. We went to a further place, where we hid in houses with people. At that time a missile was dropped and the house was destroyed.
May God help us, what can I do, I had a nervous breakdown, when a person sees his lifelong work and effort, getting thrown away. I have not lived in this house for long, I have recently moved there. I have been living in that house for only three years. I am a teacher, and I save some money of my salary each month to get this house. We have been saving money to buy the land ever since 1994. I have been waiting from 1994 to live in it, and it has only been three years. My life long work and my husband's and children, all put in for this house so we can live in it. What could I possibly be feeling?
This is our beloved home. For 20 years my parents have been building it and they have put the most beautiful things, the best things in that house so we can live there happily and comfortably. For 20 years they have been working on this house and at the end, one missile ruins everything. It destroys and destroys our dreams. I used to wake up, work in the house, go sit in the sun, change things around the house, it was amazing, a wonderful house. My room was beautiful, I put the best things in it, the best furniture and suddenly, we move from the best house to the ugliest house.
This film features the miserable life of a group of children in the western city of the Heraat province of Afghanistan by showing their work on the streets of the city.
More importantly, it shows the ill behavior of the residents of the city toward these kids. The film shows how they are treated as outcasts in the society, with people not allowing them in the sports fields, shops, and so on.
The film is ten minutes long.
By: Sara Keawal
Kitchen used by the occupants of the uncompleted building in Yenagoa of oil rich Bayelsa state, Nigeria
Bathroom used by occupants of uncompleted building in Yenagoa of oil rich Bayelsa state, Nigeria
Esther and her friend Ebiere at the uncompleted building in Yenagoa of oil rich Bayelsa state, Nigeria.
An uncompleted building in the central city of oil rich Bayelsa state, Nigeria occupied by homeless and jobless people.
A toddler stands before a make-shift walkway into the uncompleted building occupied by homeless and jobless people in the oil rich Bayelsa state, Nigeria.
23 year-old, Esther, a school dropout sits on a window at an uncompleted building occupied by homeless and jobless people in the oil rich Bayelsa state, Nigeria.
23 year-old Esther looks at her laundry in front of the uncompleted building in Yenagoa of oil rich Bayelsa state, Nigeria.
36 year Okeychuwku sits on a bed at the uncompleted building in Yenagoa, capital of the oil rich Bayelsa state, Nigeria
35 year old Maria Johnson with her son sit by the door at an uncompleted building where they are living since they could not afford paying one.
10 year old Emmanuel searches for small rocks by the roadside of Yenagoa, capital of oil rich, Bayelsa state, Nigeria to support his family.
10 year old Emmanuel drags his two sacks in search for small rocks by the road side of Yenagoa, capital of oil rich, Bayelsa state, Nigeria to supports his family.
A boy with firewood crosses the Eni/Agip pipeline in the oil rich Bayelsa state, Nigeria.
Cedric, on his usual corner, at McGowen and Smith, midtown.
Despite the wetness, darkness and cold, mothers are forced to raise up their children in these difficult conditions.
Syria, Robia. March 18, 2013.
Elderly man, an IDP, walking with a kid throughout ruins of Serjilla.
Syria, Serjilla. March 17, 2013.
IDP's settlement in the ancient ruins. Living in these conditions can cause tuberculosis, rheumatism and leaves people exposed for Leishmaniasis.
Syria, Shensharah. March 18, 2013.