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Brazilian Government Promotes Encounter to Deal with the Homeless

Besides not having a place to live, violence, lack of access to educational services, and unemployment are examples of the problems faced by the homeless in Brazil.

To formulate measures to deal with the social exclusion that characterizes the lives of these people, the Brazilian government, representatives of social movements, and present and former street dwellers are gathered in the First National Encounter on the Homeless Population.

The event, which began yesterday, September 1st, in Brasí­lia, Brazil's capital city, ends today.

Based on these discussions, the Ministry of Social Development and Hunger Alleviation (MDS) intends to prepare a research tool to trace the profile of people who live in the street.

This study will make it possible to improve current state government policies and design policies that can be coordinated on a national scale.

According to the MDS, the homeless population is composed of individuals whose survival depends upon living in the street temporarily or permanently.

The Minister of Social Development and Hunger Alleviation, Patrus Ananias, affirms that coordination between government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the homeless population is important for the preparation of joint actions to care for and "restore the self-esteem of these people."

A preliminary survey by the National Secretariat of Social Assistance obtained information from 35 municipalities and 17 capitals in Brazil.

According to the data collected in these areas, around 80% of the homeless population is male, whereas women represent 15%.

The study also shows that the loss of family ties is one of the major causes impelling people to live in the streets.

Agência Brasil

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