Supreme Court holds public hearing to debate homeless people’s living conditions

The aim of this lawsuit is to demand that state institutions at all levels, across the country, take measures to help homeless people.
Law
29 November 2022
Supreme Court holds public hearing to debate homeless people’s living conditions

Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Sao Paulo Law School recently took part in a public hearing at the Federal Supreme Court to discuss the living conditions of homeless people in Brazil. The hearing was convened by Justice Alexandre de Moraes as part of Action Against the Violation of a Constitutional Fundamental Right 976, filed by the Sustainability Network Party, Socialism and Liberty Party and Homeless Workers’ Movement. The aim of this lawsuit is to demand that state institutions at all levels, across the country, take measures to help homeless people.

The lawsuit’s plaintiffs argue that the state’s “structural omissions” violate Decree 7,053 of 2009, which established the National Policy for Homeless People. This is the first time that this subject has been examined by the Federal Supreme Court.

The public hearing, which took place on November 21 and 22, featured 63 speakers, representing the executive, legislature, judiciary and civil society organizations that assist homeless people, including social movements, education institutions, legal organizations and public management organizations.

Sao Paulo Law School participated because of its commitment to teaching, research and extension activities focused on initiatives with social impacts and that help vulnerable people uphold their rights. The school’s contribution to the public hearing was focused on the relationship between education institutions with social impacts and the defense of human rights, highlighting the importance of extension activities for promoting dialogue between society and universities. The school demonstrated that research aligned with social purposes and based on empirical methodologies is able to identify viable ways forward for public managers who are committed to respecting social rights.

Luciana Marin Ribas, who participated in the hearing as a representative of the school’s Extension and Community Relations Office, which manages its extension project and activities, addressed the issue of urban management and presented some concrete proposals, including a binding sentence issued by the Federal Supreme Court, which deemed the arbitrary removal of belongings from homeless people to be unconstitutional. Ribas also proposed the prioritization of housing policies, such as the construction of humanitarian urban spaces with public restrooms, social laundries, luggage racks to store belongings and mass awareness campaigns on the importance of respecting homeless people’s human rights.

The school’s statement presented at the hearing contained some contributions from students at the Access to Justice and Public Interest Advocacy Clinic, which is run by Professor Maria Cecília de Araújo Asperti. In recent months, the clinic has been working with students on measures to uphold the rights of homeless people, among other subjects.

Watch the public hearing here.

Read the statement given by the FGV Sao Paulo Law School at the public hearing.

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