The coup-imposed government of interim President Michel Temer announced it will make drastic cuts to one of the country’s flagship social programs that provides low-cost housing to Brazilians, O Globo newspaper reported Saturday.
The cuts are set to mostly impact Brazil’s poorest.
The housing program, together with the Bolsa Familia subsidy for low-income people, is crediting with lifting millions out of poverty and are considered the flagship social programs of the leftist Workers’ Party governments led by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.
The program provides a subsidy to people depending on their level of income, with the lowest earners receiving housing virtually free-of-cost.
The cuts will affect these lowest earners the most. People in the second-lowest earning bracket will also face deep cuts.
The government will only honor existing contracts for social housing developments already underway.
The democratically elected government of suspended President Dilma Rousseff had made a commitment in February to build 2 million new units of social housing.
O Globo further reported that the changes to the program will be so drastic that it will likely be christened with a new name.
The cuts to the housing program are the latest effort by the Temer government to dramatically remake the Brazilian state.
Temer became president after the Congress voted to proceed with impeachment proceedings against President Rousseff, who was forced to temporarily step down last month.
Supporters of the democratically elected government argue that Temer does not have the legitimacy to implement a neoliberal agenda as it was explicitly rejected by voters when they re-elected Rousseff to the presidency in 2014.
The cuts are likely to produce a backlash and put pressure on lawmakers to reinstate Rousseff to the presidency.
According to O Globo, the Temer government is waiting for the Senate to permanently oust Rousseff before formally announcing the cuts to key social programs.