Rising house prices in Portugal have led to tent settlements among people unable to pay the rent. They are workers who cannot resist and whose salary does not exceed 1,000 euros.
In Quinta de los Ingleses, next to the sea line very close to Cascais, we can see about twenty of these tents. There we were helped by Andreia Costa, a carpenter from Brazil who had just arrived. He said he chose the area because it was safe – they were next to a private school – and because the pine trees protected them from the sun.
Andreia Costa is from Brazil and has never worked for herself, but she has contracts with cleaning services. The problem, he said, is that the houses are very expensive: “On the 5th I hardly had any money left. Of the 800 euros I paid, I had to pay 400 euros for rent and between electricity, food. .. can’t take it anymore.”
He learned about the area from other colleagues and now his goal is to stay there as long as he can and save up to buy a caravan before the cold comes, he said. According to the latest data from INE from last August – a price guaranteed by banks in Portugal – the square meter is 1,538 euros on average and in Lisbon it exceeds 2,000 euros.
In Portugal, since 2015 rents have not stopped rising and this past year they increased by more than 30%. A one-room apartment costs more than 1,200 euros on average, and that’s more money than what, for example, a hospitality worker like Daniele, who works part-time on a terrace, can earn .
Together with her husband, she also bought a tent with her little savings, and we filmed her new house. It tried to separate itself a little from the other tents and adapted an area with stones for cooking, another with a small table and a clothes among the trees.
“My husband and I decided to buy the store because we paid 800 euros, but the owner didn’t renew us either,” she said. She told us that the hardest thing was leaving her two children with social services, because she could only see them twice a week. We asked him about social housing in Lisbon and he told us that it is “impossible”, because the rules for access are not crowded.
The truth is that, like Daniele, there are many Portuguese who choose to live in a caravan or buy a tent.
It is surprising to see that they are new shops that look like a new house, but simple, enough to spend the night. The cold has not yet arrived and that gives them time to find alternatives, however, in the same pine forest of Quinta de los Ingleses, there is a man who has been in a tent for two years, as Daniele told us.
Parliament has approved the new housing law after the president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, vetoed it. Among other measures, it is considering the compulsory rental of empty houses, but this has not yet been implemented. The legal mechanism is complex and can take a long time, which can be overwhelming against many Portuguese.