On Wednesday (17), President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva approved a law that establishes the National Policy for Dignified Work and Citizenship for the Homeless Population (PNTC Pop Rua). The law includes various measures, such as the creation of a professional qualification scholarship to cover food and transportation expenses for homeless individuals participating in technical courses or seeking to improve their education.
Deputy Erika Hilton (PSOL-SP) authored the project, which was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in October 2023. Deputy Orlando Silva (PCdoB-SP) proposed a substitute, and the text was later approved by the Federal Senate in December, leading to the presidential sanction.
The PNTC Pop Rua aims to promote the human rights of homeless individuals, focusing on aspects like employment, income, professional qualification, and increased education. The law defines people experiencing homelessness as those lacking housing and living in urban public areas or overnight/temporary shelters.
A September 2023 report from the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship indicated that one in every thousand Brazilians was then experiencing homelessness. The PNTC Pop Rua includes provisions for financial autonomy through programs supporting increased education, professional qualification, and simplified access to work and income.
The law also mandates the creation of incentives for hiring homeless individuals by partner companies and the development of solidarity economy circuits. It emphasizes the need to combat prejudice, discrimination, and violence against this group in the workplace. Additionally, it suggests the possibility of agreements between the Union, federative entities, and non-profit public/private entities for projects benefiting the homeless.
The law further states that children and adolescents engaged in child labor should be included in the Child Labor Eradication Program (Peti).
“It is a law that I am immensely proud of. It is the first federal law that establishes a national policy for this population. This population is formed by marginalized people, black people, women, LGBTQIA+ individuals, people with disabilities, workers,”– Deputy Erika Hilton
Axes of PNTC Pop Rua
To achieve its objective, three strategic axes of organization were established for the policy:
- Encourage job creation and the hiring of people experiencing homelessness.
- Promote initiatives to stimulate and support the stay for professional qualification and increased education.
- Facilitate access to income through the implementation of a policy for access to microcredit to encourage associativism and solidarity entrepreneurship.
The project creates the Scholarships for the Qualification and Education of the Population Experiencing Homelessness (Bolsas QualisRua). Individuals who want to participate in professional qualification courses or improve their level of education will receive financial incentives.
The legislation does not mention specific amounts, which will be defined through a decree, as well as criteria for granting, duration, and interruption.
According to the text, the benefit will assist with expenses for food and transportation. Schools and universities will also not be allowed to require proof of residence from these students. Receiving the qualification scholarship will be cumulative and will not prevent or suspend the receipt of other benefits.
The text also obliges the state or municipality to create mechanisms that guarantee priority enrollment in public schools for children and adolescents who are children of people experiencing homelessness seeking professional qualification.
Federative entities that adhere to the policy must create Support Centers for Workers Experiencing Homelessness (CatRua).
These centers will be responsible for registering, capturing, and offering unemployed individuals and workers experiencing homelessness the possibility of reintegrating into the job market, professional qualification vacancies, as well as access to the National Program for Access to Technical Education and Employment (Pronatec) and the National Employment System (Sine).
CatRua will also be responsible for assisting the homeless population in obtaining documents such as a second copy of:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Individual Taxpayer Registry (CPF)
- Work and Social Security Card (CTPS)
The centers will also provide assistance with information about social security, for example, and recommend potential candidates for work and education scholarships. The actions of the centers can be carried out in conjunction with teams from Specialized Social Outreach Services (Seas) and Street Clinics (CnR).