ISSN 0798 1015


Vol. 38 (Nº 09) Año 2017. Pág. 12

Social Participation in the Management of the Program Minha Casa Minha Vida (PMCMV) in Brazil: the case of Abaetetuba, Para State

Participação social na gestão do Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida (PMCMV) no Brasil: o caso de Abaetetuba, estado do Pará.

Ana Maria de Albuquerque VASCONCELLOS 1; Karla Christina Neves de SOUZA 2; Mário VASCONCELLOS SOBRINHO 3; Luciana Rodrigues FERREIRA 4

Recibido: 06/09/16 • Aprobado: 29/09/2016


1. Introduction

2. The Social Participation in the construction of the National Housing Policy

3. The context of the PMCMV and activities of the municipality of Abaetetuba

4. The Social participation in the Management Councils of Public Policies

5. Final Considerations



The paper analyzes the process of social participation from the actions of the municipal administrative councils of the Program Minha Casa Minha Vida (PMCMV) in the municipality of Abaetetuba, State of Pará, Brazil. The study shows that social participation in housing policy remains limited in its scopeand. The implementation of social councils aggregated to a growing evolution process of public funds for social policies, particularly directed to low-income population, has promoted social participation. Nevertheless, in the context of housing policies, specifically the PMCMV, social participation is still limited by the lack of implementation of the municipal housing council and of ConCidades.
Key-words: Housing Policy. Social participation, Administrator Councils


O artigo analisa o processo de participação social, por meio da atuação dos conselhos gestores municipais, no Programa Minha Casa Minha Vida (PMCMV), no município de Abaetetuba, Pará, Brasil. O estudo demonstra que a participação social na política habitacional ainda é limitada em seu escopo. A implementação de conselhos gestores, agregado a um processo de evolução crescente de fundos públicos à políticas sociais, especialmente voltadas para população de baixa renda, tem promovido a participação social. Entretanto, no âmbito de políticas habitacionais, especificamente do PMCMV, a participação social ainda é limitada pela ausência de implantação do conselho municipal de habitação e do ConCidades.
Palavras-chave: Política Habitacional. Participação Social. Conselhos Gestores

1. Introduction

At the beginning of this century, the housing deficit in Brazil was 7.2 million homes, the equivalent to more than 16% of all households in Brazil (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica [IBGE], 2016). According to the series ‘Déficit Habitacional no Brasil’ (Fundação João Pinheiro [FJO], 2014), in 2011 Brazil presents a housing deficit in the range of 5,889 million homes, which represents 9.5% of permanent homes. In “2012 this index decreased to 5,792 million” (FJP, 2014, p.6). We can infer that between 2000 and 2012 there was a decrease of 19.6% in housing deficit. However, the housing issue still reveals a historical problem, which demands permanent government policies at the federal level, mainly the lack of municipal authorities that are specific to the housing handling. According to the Brazilian Municipalities' profile research (Munic/IBGE, 2004), only 42% of the municipalities in Brazil implemented institutional bodies for housing policy enforcement; and only 14% had Municipal Housing Councils.

In 2003, as a function of adversity of this historical framework, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s government restructured the Brazilian housing policy. This occurred through to Law nr 11.124/2005 which created the Ministry of Cities, the National System of Social Interest Housing (SNHIS), the National Fund of Social Housing (FNHIS) and its Management Council of National Social Housing Fund (CGFNHIS). This law relates to the Federal Law nr 10.257/2001 establishing the City Statute (EC) based upon a project and been evaluated for 13 years in the National Congress. Together, now both are the basis for the New National Housing Policy (NHP) in Brazil, considered as a new "housing management paradigm" (Brasil/Mcidades, 2010; Maricato, 2005; Maricato; Santos Júnior, 2007).

The NHP, in its regulatory documents, recognizes the participation of society in public policies, such as the right of citizens (Brasil/Mcidades, 2004). In this context, the Ministry of Cities and the SNHIS began to establish an institutional arrangement to cope with the housing issue. This is based on the strengthening of the federative pact and integration of federal, State and municipal policies; and (b)  increased participation and social control, by means of the collective bodies, as the Council of Cities (ConCidades), Management Council of FNHIS and municipal housing administrators councils, all with representation from different segments of the government and civil society (Holanda, 2011).

Initially, the NHP was implemented through the PlanHab, planning provided for in Law 11.124/05 and that has been drawn up through a participatory process with actual debates in all regions of the country. This occurred to a planning horizon until the year 2023. Nevertheless, in March 2009, the Federal Government passed over part of the PlanHab and announced the Program Minha Casa Minha Vida (PMCMV).  This program, in addition to direct the housing issues, aimed to give a greater impulse to the Brazilian economy and civil construction, when confronted with the international financial crisis of 2008 (Cardoso et. al., 2011). In a particular manner, the PMCMV reconfigured the NHP, but at the same time, has strengthened the principles of social participation at the local level in the national housing policy.

On the basis of theoretical studies of social participation in public policies, this paper aims to do a critical thinking on the process of participation in the PMCMV’s management with reference to the guiding principles established by PlanHab and the entire regulatory framework of laws nr 10.257/2001 and nr 11.124/2005. In a specific way, it focuses on the municipality of Abaetetuba, located in Para State, a municipality recognizably marked by social movements, which require the participation of civil society in public policy implementations.

Therefore it is a single case study for which the form of data occurred through semi-structured interviews and performed with eight municipal administrators and representatives of social movements of Abaetetuba. The criteria for selection of the interviewees were: i) municipal administrators; ii) being a representative of ConCidades in Abaetetuba; iii) being a representative of Residential PMCMV; iv) being a representative of the social movement; v) representative of Federal Savings Bank; vi) concordance and availability in participating in the research as interviewee. In this manner, the interviews were conducted with the municipal secretary of social care, president of the Municipal Council of Social Care, municipal coordinator for housing, technical coordinator of ConCidades in Abaetetuba, President of the residential association Abaetetuba, coordinator of the National Movement of Struggle for Housing (MNLM) and the national movement of cities/PA and representatives of Social Housing Company of Pará State [COHAB] and Federal Savings Bank in Belém.

2. The Social Participation in the construction of the National Housing Policy

The Ministry of Cities is the responsible body, by means of the National Housing Secretariat by the formulation of the National Housing Policy. This acts in a coordinated and integrated way the National Urban Development Policy (UNDP) and environmental policies and social inclusion. The restructuring of the national housing policy can be divided into two phases, which are intrinsically related with the presidential administration: the first phase (administration 2003-2006) occurred an institutional restructuring; and in the second phase (administration 2007-2010) when occurred the increase in the volume of resources directed to housing programs (Brasil/Mcidades, 2004).

The institutional change was initiated by creation of the Ministry of Cities which brought its essence in the design of integrated urban policies (Naime, 2010). These policies are the result of discussions and contributions of different social movements and organizations, which are structured around the urban reform in Brazil, throughout the 1990s (Holanda, 2010). Thus, with the creation of the Ministry of Cities and the Council of Cities, institutional space for dialogue, control and social participation began with the construction of the new NHP. This policy was conspicuous by dialogue among agents of the federal government with all segments of the population, above all, the low-income population (Brasil/Mcidades, 2004). Furthermore, through the law nr 11.124/05, in 2005 was created the SNHIS. This has brought the principle of coordinated action of the three levels of government (federal, State and municipal) with a view to institutional strengthening. The SNHIS brings in its guidelines the use of resources accruing from FNHIS and FGTS, making a mix of expensive resources and subsidies (Maricato, 2005).

The participation in public policies as a right of citizens occurred as from 3.457 municipal conferences which took place during 2003, which ended in October of the same year with the 1st National Conference establishing the ConCidades and the guidelines and principles of PNDU. Following to the aformentioned, conference took place in the years 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2013, the latter in Belém, Pará State. These conferences can be characterized as participation of the different proposals submitted by civil society and have been incorporated into urban policies adopted the Ministry of Cities (Naime, 2010).

And with this, the ConCidades becomes the space where social participation should occur at the local level. This is expressed by a set of consensual recommendations with the aim to guarantee new institutional conditions for the promotion of access to decent housing for all segments of the population, above all, the low-income aiming at social inclusion.

In the second term of Lula's government there is a favorable economic environment that allowed greater contribution of federal investment in the housing area. In 2007 was launched the PAC - Growth Acceleration Program (Brasil/Mcidades, 2004) and there was the release of funds for housing investment by means of the FNHIS (Cardoso et. al., 2011). At this time, was organized the first public selection to access of the States and municipalities to fund programs (Holanda, 2011). It was in this context that the PlanHab was drafed, instrument that would implement the NHP (Naime, 2010).

Therefore, the PlanHab becomes one of the central components of the new housing policy (Bonduki, 2009). It aims to plan the public and private actions for medium and long term and determine the housing needs of the country within a horizon of fifteen year (2008 – 2023). It deals with a strategic plan which is designed so that its proposals will be implemented with integrated articulation to Multiannual Plans (PPAs) of 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2023.

Bonduki (2009) stresses that the PlanHab was the result of a comprehensive participatory process of civil society, which lasted for eighteen months. Its strategy requires simultaneous actions in four indispensable areas: (1) financing and subsidies; (2) institutional arrangements; (3) civil construction production chain and (4) urban-land strategies. These pillars are intrinsically related and according to the author, “there will be no substantial changes in the framework of housing policy if concurrent actions will not performed in the four areas” (p. 12).

Once the ConCidades was implemented, the popular movements put pressure on the Federal Government in order to have direct access to the programs of FNHIS (Holanda, 2011). In another front, in order that States and municipalities have access to fund resources, these should adhere to SNHIS and act in an integrated way and coordinated to the system. Thus, the States and municipalities should draw up the Local Plans for Social Housing (PLHIS), constitute the Local Housing Fund for Social Interest and its respective management council (Naime, 2010).

In the middle of all this planning, the international economic crisis which began in 2008 worsened and the Brazilian Federal Government, therefore, took measures to safeguard its economy. In 2009 the Federal Government, then launched the Program Minha Casa Minha Vida (PMCMV). This is aimed for the care of families with monthly income of up to 10 minimum wages. In the PMCMV, the access is restricted to businesses of the civil construction sector and the public administration acts by providing infrastructure areas and other facilitative actions for the implementation of the program (Brasil/Mcidades, 2009).

The increase of resources for the housing programs did not respond directly to the strengthening of SNHIS, since the PAC Housing and the PMCMV being federal programs which obtained greater financial support, were administrated and divided between the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Budget and the Federal Civil House. Therefore, the space for dialogue and negotiation under the Ministry of Cities, throught the ConCidades was weakened (Bonduki, 2009; Maricato, 2009; Rolnik; Nakano, 2009; Cardoso, 2009).

Initially, the PMCMV had immense impact with its goal of one million housing units. Therefore began to receive criticism from academics and organizations linked to urban reformation movement, because it prioritized confronting the economic crisis and its systematic, directed to the private sector, needed no social control through the spaces established in the FNHIS. The PMCMV project differed from the principles of SNHIS that the programs should be discussed in housing advice. This characterized certain conflict between the conception of MCMV and the SNHIS (Rolnik; Nakano, 2009; Cardoso, 2009).

Despite the increased criticism, Bonduki (2009) points out that the launch of PMCMV was not completely adverse to the propositions of PlanHab. According to the author, the “package” assumed some guidelines of PlanHab and “eventually adopted in practice, the most optimistic scenario proposed by the plan”. The presumption was maintaining the high level of resources for fifteen years, there would be possible to create a real impact in coping with the housing deficit. (Bonduki, 2009, p. 12). However, the PMCMV is a government policy, like that with time determined to end; and the PlanHab in turn, it is a State policy. The latter brings with it the proposal of solving the housing deficit by means of integrated and coordinated planning on the medium and long term, acting in coordination with the PPAs with a planning horizon to the year 2023.

The historical framework demonstrates, on the one hand that the development and implementation of a new NHP was the result of social participation with integrated coordination in the three levels of government. However, on the other hand, with the launch of PAC and PMCMV, the leading role of civil society was terminated and went to the private sector. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that from 2010, with the launch of the PAC second version, the ConCidades began to operate again in the systematization of programs, although modestly. Yet, progress must be made to resume the PlanHab and the cooperation between the three levels of government with the participation of civil society. Table 1 outlines a short summary of the social participation for building the new housing policy from 2003.

Table 1 - Social participation in the building of the new housing policy as from 2003 and the management of PMCMV

Starting 2003: rearrangement in the institutional design of the new NHP, through MCidades, SNHIS, FNHIS and PLANHAB.

The existence of social participation in the development and implementation of new PNH;


The participatory management, democratic and decentralizing model of the new PNH highlighted civil society as protagonist in the relations between State and society, with integrated coordination in the three levels of government.








Federal Law nr 11.977/2009 (PMCMV)


Starting 2009: Responsibility to lead for the business sector;


From May/2009 to Aprill/2010: with coordination of ConCidades;

The general structure of MCMV did not meet the space and instruments established by the SNHIS, weakening the effort to consolidate the new PNH by public authorities at all three levels of government;

After 2010: Leading role for ConCidades which intended and has achieved some changes in the systematization of PAC and the MCMV:


Starting April/2010, PAC 2 and MCMV, accept the presence of ConCidades in the debate with the State.

MCMV: Forced the inclusion of the modality dedicated to municipalities with less than 50,000 inhabitants and the modality MCMV- Entities, intended for the social entities;


PAC 2: Presented integrated into the SNHIS and Federal Law nr 11.124/2005.

Source: Fieldwork Research (2013).

If subsidies obtained by the program are maintained on the long-term and guarantee the continuity of a real social housing policy, it is possible to act effectively in housing deficit. Nevertheless, it is necessary to move forward in the debate for the implementation of PlanHab with integrated and coordinated civil society participation in the three levels of government, so that the program is articulated better with other policies, including the urban development. Although criticisms can be woven to the PMCMV, it is worth noting that there is a consensus among experts of the housing area, who coined important advances in combating housing deficit of low-income population.

3. The context of the PMCMV and activities of the municipality of Abaetetuba

 The housing issue in Abaetetuba was handled by the local Department of Social Services until the year 2010. Due the launches of PAC and PMCMV, apart from the specific demand of the local population for housing, the Brazilian municipalities have created institutional bodies focused on housing. In 2012, Abaetetuba created the Municipal Coordination for housing. In the preceding year, the City Hall had created the Citizen's House, the department where initiated the registrations of families to comply with the PMCMV. However, despite the creation of the Housing Coordination, the demand for housing are still centralized in the Municipal Social Assistance and its council manager.

Actually, this is due to the absence of a housing office and the municipal council housing, as was revealed in interviews with municipal administrators. In the meantime, one can understand that there is an advance with regard to the commitment of the municipality to the PLHIS:

[...]Despite the municipality of Abaetetuba created the Housing Coordination only in 2012, we have considered this a major step forward, because this is a reality of the Brazilian municipalities, which are still adapting themselves to requirements of the law nr 11.124/05. The PLHIS is still being prepared and even the fact itself of the recent establishment of housing Coordination [...]  

[...]And yet there is a housing council, which demand creation in municipal law and funds therefore. But as occurred the necessity of creating a housing Coordination, hereafter, the City Hall will also have the need to establish the Secretariat and housing council, because besides being the population demand itself is a maturing process of the municipalities [...] (President of the Municipal Council of Social Assistance of Abaetetuba).

In the same way, Abaetetuba also sought to fit into the PNDU with the institution of ConCidades. In accordance with a technique of the Municipal Secretary of the Environment – SEMEIA, and was part of the coordination team of the 1st Municipal Conference of the cities in 2003, Abaetetuba established by municipal law its ConCidades, although, in practice, it didn´t functioning properly. The council does not funtioning yet, because it has a minimum technical framework for implementation which should involve, among other professionals, the social assistant, as will be detailed below:

[...]We participated in the 1st Municipal Conference of Cities in 2003 and was created by the municipal law ConCidades/Abaetetuba. Except that it still does not work in practice because it is to stay within the Department of Works, but the Secretariat has no qualified personnel to receive the Council. The Secretariat of Public Works has an engineer and an administrator and for ConCidades would also to have a Social assistant and increasing the amount of personnel. The importance of the social assistant is to find out the real needs of the community contemplated with housing programs and doing the intermediation between them and the City Hall [...] (Technician of SEMEIA).

Therefore, it is observed that despite the municipality is being agile in its place within the established rules to engage in urban and housing policies and the consequent access to resources, there are still some institutional deficiencies of Abaetetuba City Hall. Actually, like most of the Pará State municipalities, Abaetetuba does not yet have full organizational capacity which ensures the management of PMCMV and promote the participation of civil society in housing policy within the dialogue channels which are needed. In this way, the participation of local civil society does not occur because of the absence of the public sphere and hierarchical design requested by the Program.

The above scenario is combined with lack of technical capacity and the weaknesses identified in the relations between the three levels of government. The fact, the PNH and PMCMV have imposed local administrations to new organizational forms for access to federal funds. For such were demanded to institute funds and advices, but in practice this did not occur in the municipality of Abaetetuba, making the role of SNHIS fragile and very own social housing policy in the municipality. If the PMCMV acts in a coordinated and integrated manner with SNHIS it is possible to discern an optimistic scenario in confronting the housing deficit. However, if it does not occur just the framework imposed to rules becomes insufficient for the reversal of the housing framework.

The fact that Abaetetuba becomes engaged in social housing policy since 2009 and 2010 through the FNHIS and PMCMV, respectively, and the inauguration of the Housing of the Citizen's House, also in 2010 to complete the housing registration with existing records in CADÚNICO (families with income up to three minimum wages), meant the attendance of 80% of the demand for housing of this population segment. Table 2 shows that the City Hall registered 1,895 families and atttended 1.510, though such assistance has occurred without the participation of civil society in setting priorities.   

Table 2 -  Statement of Habitacional Registration of the Municipality of Abaetetuba December 2012.



Residential’s Name

Program name

Number of Units

Number of Families registrated

Number of Families contemplateds

Number of Families in reserve


Abaeteora I







Abaeteora II




































Source: Information obtained from the Multiyear Plan (2010-2013) of the Municipal Social Assistance of Abaetetuba.

Despite criticism that the PMCMV has received from various experts in the housing sector, the Abaetetuba’s experience shows that the program has achieved a high population coverage rate in the range of 1 to 3 minimum wages, thus decreasing the housing deficit of range 1. However, on the other hand, the interviewees agreed that during this process there was limited social participation in the implementation of the program, which contradicts what is established in its conception. Indeed, the social participation did not effectively occurr in the PMCMV in Abaetetuba, due to the absence of the city council housing and not functioning of the ConCidades.

4. The Social participation in the Management Councils of Public Policies

There are several acceptations for the participation of civil society in the implementation of public policies. One of the most prominent acceptations is that of the participation of civil society in the public sphere does not occur to replace the State, but to accompany the achievement of public policy in order that it accomplishes its obligation. From this perspective, the participation should be active and consider the experience of every citizen who is part thereof (GOHN 2004). As a matter of fact, Gohn (2004) States that social participation is not just to occupy spaces prior to exclusive action of the State and its devices, but to democratize the management of public affairs and to reverse the priorities of the government. The participation should address public policies that meet not only the emergency issues, but the daily demands of society.

According to Cornwall (2008), social participation is characterized by the potential to transform the predominant political culture in the State. With this in mind, participation changes the identity of persons in the context of public policies that passes from 'customers and beneficiaries' to ‘citizens with rights'. The participation expands and deepens the exercise of democracy, either the pluralization of spaces and channels which citizens express, or creating new connections with the State.

The importance of civil leadership in social policies takes place through the public sphere, such as advice and other institutionalized forms. These are critical areas of local government expression for the attendance of the civil society (Gohn, 2004). The public sphere is one of the organizational principles of public policy processes and democratic deliberation at the local level (Millani, 2008).

The public policy councils can be considered innovative institutional builders to the extent they are plural and participatory and present themselves as dialogues spaces between the State and society for decision-making (Tatagiba, 2004). The effective participation of civil society occurs when there is engagement in the formulation process and public policy management and consideration is given to the demands of the population (Coelho, 2004).

 In the Statements of the representatives interviewed of the ConCidades of Abaeteutba, two important weaknesses of the municipal councils were identified as above already set: the ineffective operation of the same and the inexistence of the municipal council of municipal housing.

A technician the City Hall who was interviewed pointed out that the main obstacle to the effective functioning of Concidades is that it should be linked to the Secretariat of Works, but that does not have physical structure, technical and personal. Currently, in this secretariat there are only two top-level public servants, an engineer and an administrator, in addition of two public servants who are administrative assistants. For all allocations which are required for the secretariat, including the management of Concidades, this scenario is even very incipient.

According to the relevant legislation, for the functioning of ConCidades the organization of a structure is required, even if it is linked to a municipal secretary. Given this scenario, was asked how the ConCidades has exerted its role in the municipality, jsince in order to access resources for housing, as from the Law nr 11.124/05, the municipalities would have to provide funding, advice, PEHIS and the PLHIS. The technician responded:

[...]Although still not functioning, I see a very great importance in ConCidades in the municipality, because it is not only responsible for housing, but for territorial planning as a whole, including urban issues. I think it's a matter of time that the ConCidades will have na effective functioning, as occurred with the establishment of the Housing Coordination in the municipality in 2012, that I consider as a major breakthrough for housing [...] (Technician of the Municipal Department of Environment [SEMEIA]).

With respect to the demands of housing as a whole, considering the existence of the Municipal Housing Council, these has been centralized and answered by the Municipal Secretatiaat for Social Assistance by means of a Housing Coordination that was created for this purpose. In any event, the main decisions are made by the Council of Social Assistance. Thus, municipal administrators highlight that progress in the management of housing issues in the municipality is due to the establishment of Housing Coordination in 2012. However, the interviewees point out to the necessity of the City Hall to establish a municipal secretary specific to the housing issues and hence, a municipal council housing. This necessity occurs through the existence of demands, both the local population, and the federal and municipal governments to handle their own housing issues in the municipality.

The role that social participation should exercise in administrative councils goes beyond the presentation of priorities and social demands. Social participation has as a principle the deliberation for the formulation and management of public policies.

Actually, civil society assumes responsibility for co-management and co-responsibility in the proposition and achievement of social policies, thus offering alternatives that influence the institutional framework of policy and management format (Santos, 2002). In this way, the participation of society places ordinary citizens and their representatives in direct contact with anyone who plans and manage the services, as well as may serve to promote new forms of communication, collaboration and understanding (Cornwall, 2008).

In this context, it is important to highlight the interview with President of the Resident Association of Residential Abaetetuba. According to this, the residents of the residential organized themselves and elected the president to represent them and discuss their rights and demands by the municipal government and the Federal Savings Bank (CEF) in an organized manner. In these two spheres, the demands of the residents were met. However, due to non-effectiveness of participation spaces and public sphere in Abaetetuba, specifically ConCidades and the Housing Council, social participation was restricted to the responsibilities of CEF and the City Hall. Therefore, the local social participation under the PMCMV did not occur as a whole in the municipality.

Notwithstanding the absence of such councils in Abaetetuba, we emphasize that social control did not cease to be exercised by the beneficiary community with the PMCMV. These were especially done from the monitoring of the activities and actions taken by CEF and City Hall referring to the claims made by the residents' association. As an example, we can highlight the answers on (a) the illegal occupation of residents who were not registered to receive the benefit of the housing program; (b) the distortions detected by residents between what is intended in the Law PMCMV and the actual percentage charged by CEF for the installment of the apartment; and (c) the residential infrastructure issues and specific problems of the construction of the building.

[...]We demand from City Hall and CAIXA the eviction of the apartments of 46 families who were not registered, but that the families would not become homeless, since they need as much as us and they fall within the program criteria [...]

[...]We complained that was charged the percentage of 5% of the installment of the apartment by the law of PMCMV and prior they charged us 10% [...]

[...]The apartments have been delivered without plaster on the floor and on the stairs to the apartments and the paving of the residential streets [...] (President of the Residents Association of Abaetetuba).

Among the demands made, the president informed that the infrastructure issues of the stairs of the building and the paving of the residential streets is still not solved. Despite having highlighted this, it were the residents who have completed part of the infrastructure of their apartments, such as placing of floors, he pointed out to get the attention of most of their demands.

In another perspective, the president of the association emphasized that residents of residential recognize the importance of PMCMV to solve the housing issue for people with less purchasing power. Reaffirming the assumptions of the program, the president emphasized that the majority of the present residents of the residential lived in poor housing conditions and for many years attempted to purchase their own home. In fact, as already set, the PMCMV acts as a social inclusion policy in range 1 with monthly income of up to three minimum wages.

Progress in dialogue and relationship between State and civil society in the PMCMV is highlighted in the Statements of a social technique of CEF which has been interviewed:

[...]The federal government already meets the demands of the population by PMCMV 2, on the need for installation of public equipment exist in the scope of the Program, because in PMCMV 1, the building have been delivered without the same [...] (Social assistente of the Federal Savings Bank).

This scenario confirms the information given in the interview held with the coordinator of the National Movement of Struggle for Housing (MNLM) and the National Movement of Cities in Para State. Such says that there is a great advance in the dialogue between the State and civil society in Brazil with respect to the housing issue for the population with less economic power which promotes an effective social inclusion according to him. Therefore, the coordinator expresses understanding that the PMCMV must be institutionalized as a State policy and not as government policy with deadline to be finished, because the delay issues of housing and social inclusion in Brazil are still very deep.

Nevertheless, the coordinator of the movements quotes that social participation is still occurring in a limited extent. According to the interviewee, the PMCMV is a “Privatist program to dialogue more with the market than with civil society, pbecause this is depicted only within the institutional context of ConCidades, dialogue channel which was weakened after the launch of PMCMV” throughout the country and not only in the municipality of Abaetetuba. However, the coordinator emphasizes that the PMCMV progressed in addressing the housing deficit to range 1:

[...]The Federal Government has released significant resources to housing. It is one of the world's few programs which have subsidized resources and acts directly in range 1, by giving the property title and acting in an exclusive manner. But the program has to be institutionalized as State policy, with perspective of integrated territorial planning, since the value of the land was characterized by added value and Cohab is part in this process [...]

[...]Despite the large amount of resources, it only serves to invest in housing programs, and therefore it needs to be resumed the PlanHab as a State policy [...]being a step backwards of the PMCMV without the PlanHab, since it prevents them from making the planning of cities together with the National Urban Development System, which transversalizes politics as a whole, which will manage the administration of the cities [...] (Coordinator of MNLM and the National Movement of Cities).  

The representatives of PMNLM in Pará and the Residents Association of Residential Abaetetuba have presented some convergences interpretations with regard to the management of the program and the participation of civil society in the process. Both show that the discussion forums are still minimal; however, participation was effective by means of a self-organization of the residentes, who end up exercising their citizen’s roles in the search for resolution and fulfillment of their demands with government agencies, even without the existence of the Municipal Housing Council and effectiveness of ConCidades. Both also agree that there is no participation of the state government in the action of PMCMV. This gap in management between the three levels of government, however, it occurs because of the very design of the program that is not structured to pursue non-compliance with rules of SNHIS and the FNHIS, and the non-implementation of the ConCidades.

Thus, the research results indicate that despite the strong performance of residents of the residential Abaetetuba through its association, t have achieved most of their demands met by CEF and the City Hall, o which demonstrates the capacity for dialogue between the State and civil society cannot characterize that there was effective local social participation of the PMCMVin Abaetetuba. This is achieved by the absence of the public sphere envisaged by the program and by SNHIS represented by ConCidades and Municipal Housing Council,  as shown in Table 3.

Table 3 -  Main progress and limits of Management Councils, from the perspective of the actors interviewed.

Main progress of the Management Councils in Abaetetuba and the PMCMV

Main Limits of Management Councils in Abaetetuba

and the PMCMV

a) The Federal Constitution of 1988 establishesd and legitimized the management councils and recognized the importance of social participation through advice;

a) There was no social participation in PMCMV in Abaetetuba, due to absence of ConCidades and the Municipal Housing Council;

b) The participation of society in public policy discussion is important through councils, as an example, the dialogue in the democratic processs PLHIS;

b) Inexistence of supervision and monitoring of housing advice;

c) The Councils and Conferences of Cities guarantee the right of citizens to participate in the management of housing policy;

c) Lack of training and qualifications of counselors and in particular lack of knowledge of the policy enhancement HIS, aimed at building the most active councils, responsible and qualified;

d) Assist low income population by the PMCMV, by giving the property title to the beneficiary and expansion of resources;

d) The local society does not seek legitimate channels for the manifestation, because the claims occur in isolation, through the Secretariat of Social Assistance;

e) social control exercised by the association of residents of the residential Abaetetuba, even without the housing council and ConCidades;

e) The people indicated to be part of the councils do not know their actual role and have lack of knowledge;

f) The federal government has satisfied the demands of the population contemplated by PMCMV2.

f) There are few institutionalized councils in the states and municipalities, such as in Abaetetuba that doesn´t exist.

 Source: Fieldwork Research (2013).

Table 2 summarizes advances in national housing policy involving social participation and the establishment of management councils to promote further dialogue between the State and civil society, according to vision of the interviewees. In fact, the creation and legitimization of management councils occurred by the Federal Constitution of 1988. This stipulates the participation of civil society to increase the dialogue with the State and to improve social public policies.

5. Final Considerations

The objective of this paper was to perform a critical thinking on the social participation, through housing management councils in the context of the Program Minha Casa Minha Vida (PMVMV), in the municipality of Abaetetuba in Para state. It was given emphasis on social participation because this is at the core in housing policy which was restructured institutionally from 2003 with the establishment of SNHIS, FNHIS and ConCidades.

Initially, the study shows that the institutional framework of the entire Brazilian housing policy is the result of accomplishments of social movements linked to urban reform. These movements demand enhanced dialogue of the State with civil society for coordination and integration of urban policies. Although in a controversial manner, one can infer that the urban social movements interacted with the State and surpassed the historical unidirectional relationship of conflict.

As a result of the articulated structure of the SNHIS, FNHIS, ConCidades from 2007, the Federal Government started to make available in a significant way increased contribution of resources to serve the housing sector through the FNHIS and PAC.

With the launch of PMCMV in response to the global economic crisis of 2008, the Federal Government started to make available significant resources for the construction of homes for the population with an income range between 1 and 3 minimum wages. Initially, the PMCMV preferred the PlanHab, newly finished and discussed in a participatory manner in ConCidades in several meetings throughout the country. To prefer the PlanHab, it can be said that at this time the State allocated the construction and implementation of housing public policy to itself. The definitions are given due to the economic crisis and disregarded the broader discussion of urban reform.

The PMCMV defined as the protagonist of the program the business sector. Again, civil society is treated only as a beneficiary of the housing public policy. Thereby, one ignores the principles and guidelines established by SNHIS. PAC and the PMCMV were managed and allocated between the Ministries of Finance; Planning and Budget; and Federal Civil House. The dialogue and negotiation spaces that were being led by the Ministry of Cities through ConCidades were cooled.

If on one hand you hear the cooling of social participation in the broadest level in housing policy; the other hand there has been progress in public policy to attend the low-income population with more resources for construction of popular properties. It opened within the same context, participation possibilities of civil society at the local level (municipal) once the program has required the establishment of management councils in order to monitor the housing policy.

Following the example of Abaetetuba, the study demonstrates that the municipalities have high nominal capacity to engage in the structure of PMCMV with the establishment of ConCidades by Law; however, very low institutional capacity to make it work. Although created in Abaetetuba, ConCidades does not work in practice. This greatly undermines the local social participation in program management.

Despite the criticism that we can give the PMCMV, the example of Abaetetuba shows that this represents a step forward in the expansion of resources for the housing sector and attendance of the existing demand for low-income population and consequently to confront the housing deficit. In the specific case of Abaetetuba, 80% of registered families were attended. However, it should be highlighted the limited participation of civil society in debate and dialogue with housing policies focused on the program at the local level.

Of every order, it is important to emphasize the importance of recovering the PlanHab by the Federal Government as a State policy, since this has a 15-year horizon and acts in the planning of the cities. The PlanHab has among its presuppositions greater dialogue between State and civil society and among the urban planning of cities and the National Urban Development System, the SNHIS, FNHIS and ConCidades at the three levels of government.

Among the major challenges of PMCMV is to maintain and consolidate to ensure the health services in housing terms, originally for the low-income population and thereafter for families from 4 to 10 minimum wages, as the program proposes itself.

More specifically with regard to the municipality of Abaetetuba, it can be affirmed that the establishment of the Housing Coordination was a major breakthrough for housing management at the housing level. However, this needs to be broadened and transformed into a municipal secretary to establish the basis for the creation and implementation of the municipal council housing that still has not been established. This secretariat would give the necessary foundation to meet the demands, both the local population, as the federal and municipal government to meet the requirements of housing issues.


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1. Sociologist and holds Phd in Development Studies from Swansea University (UK); senior lecturer at University of Amazon. E-mail:

2. Bachelor in Administration and holds a Master degree in administration from University of Amazon. E-mail:

3. Economist and holds Phd in Development Studies from Swansea University (UK); is senior lecturer at University of Amazon and lecturer at Natural Resources Management and Local Development Postgraduate Program at Federal University of Pará. E-mail:

4. Pedagogue and holds PhD in Education from Federal University of São Carlos (Brazil); is a lecturer at University of Amazon. E-mail:

Revista ESPACIOS. ISSN 0798 1015
Vol. 38 (Nº 09) Año 2017


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