Consequences of Corona The Skyrocketing Homeless Population of São Paulo

Teachers, white-collar workers, single mothers: The Brazilian middle class is collapsing amid the crisis brought by the coronavirus, and many are landing on the streets of São Paulo. But there may be a solution in sight.
By Nicola Abé in São Paulo, Brazil
Catholic priest Julio Lancellotti handing out breakfast to the homeless in the Mooca district of São Paulo.

Catholic priest Julio Lancellotti handing out breakfast to the homeless in the Mooca district of São Paulo.

Foto:

Rogério Vieira / DER SPIEGEL

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Tiago Ferreira de Almeira lost his job in a chocolate factory due to the crisis sparked by the coronavirus.

Tiago Ferreira de Almeira lost his job in a chocolate factory due to the crisis sparked by the coronavirus.

Foto: Nicola Abé
Tents set up by homeless people at entrance to the Faculty of Law in the center of São Paulo

Tents set up by homeless people at entrance to the Faculty of Law in the center of São Paulo

Foto: Rogério Vieira / DER SPIEGEL
Volunteers distributing food to those in need

Volunteers distributing food to those in need

Foto: Rogério Vieira / DER SPIEGEL
Single mothers Caroline Francisco and Luciana Batista are both homeless.

Single mothers Caroline Francisco and Luciana Batista are both homeless.

Foto: Rogério Vieira / DER SPIEGEL
Tens of thousands of people are living on the streets of São Paulo, the largest and economically most powerful city in South America.

Tens of thousands of people are living on the streets of São Paulo, the largest and economically most powerful city in South America.

Foto: Rogério Vieira / DER SPIEGEL
Elvira Ferreira da Silva keeps her tent clean and neat.

Elvira Ferreira da Silva keeps her tent clean and neat.

Foto:

Rogério Vieira / DER SPIEGEL

The number of people waiting for food at soup kitchens has tripled in some instances.

The number of people waiting for food at soup kitchens has tripled in some instances.

Foto: Rogério Vieira / DER SPIEGEL
Father Lancellotti frequently receives threats on social media or is verbally abused in public because of the support he provides the homeless: "It's the hatred people have for the poor," he says.

Father Lancellotti frequently receives threats on social media or is verbally abused in public because of the support he provides the homeless: "It's the hatred people have for the poor," he says.

Foto: Rogério Vieira / DER SPIEGEL
Homeless people in the center of São Paulo, near the Metropolitan Cathedral

Homeless people in the center of São Paulo, near the Metropolitan Cathedral

Foto: Rogério Vieira / DER SPIEGEL
Life on the Streets of São Paulo
Fotostrecke

Life on the Streets of São Paulo

Foto: Rogério Vieira / DER SPIEGEL

This piece is part of the Global Societies series. The project runs for three years and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.