The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

February 28, 2014

Critics blast Rio's World Cup, Olympic evictions

(Continued)

Officials have said all removals in Rio have been carried out fairly, with those evicted being offered a wide range of housing options. Advocacy groups and those who have lost their homes, however, tell a different story.

"The city's removal policy is disastrous because it's taking these pockets of poverty and pushing them out to the furthest limits of the city, thus making vulnerable people that much vulnerable," said Renato Cosentino, a member of the Popular Committee.

For Nascimento's husband Souza, in fact, the family's eviction has put more obstacles in the way of an already difficult life.

The distance that separates their new home from the jobs, schools and hospitals of central Rio has wrenched the family apart. Since their 2011 move, Nascimento sleeps five nights a week at her employers' house. Otherwise, her commute would gobble up at least six hours a day, its cost taking a major bite out of her $500 monthly salary. For similar reasons, her husband shells out $190 a month for a tiny rental apartment close to his job. One of Nascimento's youngest children lives with her mother and another with a close friend, while her two teenage boys live alone in the housing project.

"We were working hard and getting ahead in life and then this happens and it sets us not even back to where we started, but way back before the starting point," said Souza, his sunglasses failing to conceal the tears streaming down his face. "I would give everything just to have my little plot of land back and my family whole again."

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