Pandemic throws thousands of families into homelessness

Pandemic creates more homeless Brazilian families
Photo: Nelson Antoine/Shutterstock

Several studies carried out in Brazil have already shown that the coronavirus pandemic has considerably increased inequality. One aspect is the increase in the homeless population. According to data from CadÚnico — the basis for the government’s social programs —, the number of people living on the streets in the country grew continuously between March 2020 and April 2021.

When the health crisis hit Brazil last year, the homeless population numbered 149,019. By April of this year, the figure had shot up to 162,045, an 8.7-percent increase.

In the last couple of months, the numbers fell, to 138,762 in May (rising again to 140,749 in June). For experts, that drop — a 14.3 percent fall between April and May — could be a reflection of decreased attention to updating public records than an improvement in the real situation. 

Moreover, for researchers, the numbers are underestimated, since CadÚnico only includes those who have access to services offered by the government. According to an estimate made by the Incontáveis project of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), for example, the number of homeless people in the country could actually be 40 percent higher.