Mature City Program
State Secretariat for Human Development

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Aging is a natural process that occurs to all living beings on the planet. The World Health Organization (WHO) establishes that this phase begins at the age of 60 in developing countries like Brazil and at the age of 65 in developed countries. The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) claims that demographic transformations in Brazil's population have significantly increased in the last decades. Samples of population counts reveal estimates of considerable growth in the elderly population, and even higher projections for the following decades. In Paraíba State, the number of elderly people increased 30.5% in the last ten years, according to the National Household Sample Survey (PNAD) published in 2014. While in 2003 there were 389 thousand Paraíba citizens in this age group, in 2013 that number jumped to 508 thousand, meaning that more than half a million Paraíba citizens are over 60 years of age. Historically, access to housing for elderly people in Brazil is marked by excluding criteria both in private habitation financing, which is made more expensive by elevated interest rates and less time to pay, as well as in public concession, expressed in the lack of habitation plans, projects and programs that include the elderly and their needs. It should be noted that to become a home owner through bank financing, the life expectancy of the buyer is taken into account, and is directly proportional to rising in interest rates and decreasing of time to pay. Through the State Secretariat for Human Development (SEDH), the State Government of Paraíba identified in 2011 the lack of public policies focused on the elderly, especially in situations that directly violated their rights. Among these situations is the great number of elders who still have full autonomy to fulfill their day to day tasks but live in Long Stay Institutions (ILPs) or submit themselves to family cohabitation because they don’t have the means to acquire decent housing of their own. Another sign of the housing deficit in Paraíba among the elderly was the elevated number of applications from this age group on the Housing Registry, run by Popular Housing State Company (CEHAP). That way, the expressive number of elderly people still able to carry out daily activities by themselves who were living in ILPs or family cohabitation, sleeping in improvised lodgings in their relative's houses or makeshift rooms in their backyards with no privacy or comfort, defined the specific gap the State Government proposed to address, seeking a solution to the issue of welcoming and re-socializing these people.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
To fix the housing deficit for elderly people, a horizontal residential condominium totally suited to their needs was created. It concentrates the basic services and attention they needed in a safe, modernized environment called Mature City Residential Condominium (Condomínio Habitacional Cidade Madura). The initiative solves the problem of housing and socialization of the elderly person with an income of up to five times the minimum wage whose name is on the State's Housing Registry.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Mature City Program contemplates an intersectional strategy, as it offers a structure based on three of the four pillars pointed out by an Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) research which lists public policies that aim to lessen the impacts suffered by impoverished elderly people: Social Welfare, Heath and Habitation, also including Social Security due to most elderly people being on retirement. The context of the problem lies in the constant aging of the population and the challenge to overcome the consequences of bad housing and isolation of the elderly person due to precarious family conviviality. The program is thought out for the elderly that still have autonomy to do everyday tasks, identified in the aforementioned situations in the context of the problem. The question was solved by using the housing concept of a horizontal residential condominium composed of residential modules totally adapted to meet the elderly persons' needs and uphold law demands. Mature City Condominium is a safe, modern environment that includes 40 totally accessible homes, a walking lane, an arborized square, a community garden, an open gym, a service center, a hammock area and a heath care center. Elderly people from both genders that can't live with their families and don't have a house of their own are welcome to be beneficiaries of the initiative. That way, with the prospect of improving the quality of life of these people, the program provides decent housing and equipment necessary for social interaction and leisure in a horizontal residential condominium suited to their needs and in accordance to guidelines from State Policies for the Elderly. The facilities aim to serve people of at least 60 years of age that are able to care for themselves on a daily basis and have an income of up to five times the minimum wage. They may also live with a spouse or partner. The place has a security watch post, a square, a walking lane, a hammock area, a space for medical care, a general service center, and a community garden. Everything is totally modernized and accessible. The selected beneficiaries are chosen after a complete social study carried out by technicians from the State Secretariat for Human Development (SEDH). The contemplated elders cannot modify, lend, rent or give away the houses in any way. The State itself is responsible for fixing any structural damages to the residential units or common areas, as well as providing professional staff to attend to heath, social assistance and security needs. Mature City Residential Program is regulated by State Decree 35.072, dated June 10th 2014, and is implemented in the cities of João Pessoa, Campina Grande and Cajazeiras, the first cities in the country to host a closed public residential condominium for elderly people only. Another condominium will open in the city of Guarabira and there are projects for new ones to be built in the cities of Sousa, Patos and other State administered regions. Mature City Program has, therefore, delivered an inclusive and integrative sociability in regards to accessible public policies and improving the quality of life of elderly Paraíba citizens served in the program.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Mature City is the first elderly only horizontal condominium in Brazil, totally implemented by the State Government. Similar to this there is only the Elderly Village in the city of São Paulo - SP, which works more as a social rental housing system where the elder pays 10% of their income, plus condominium taxes for a vertical structure that does not offer leisure areas for social interaction among the elders or heath care and social assistance services. Mature City condominium takes the concept of a conventional residential condominium and innovates by giving it special features to suit the personal needs of elderly people while being accessible to special needs people. Mature City Program addresses the needs of the elderly under a multidimensional point of view, aiming to fully protect the elderly person as well as to offer access to multiple State policies such as housing, health care and social assistance.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Based on State Decree 35.072 dated June 10th 2014, which establishes Mature City Program, both the State Secretariat for Human Development (SEDH) and the Popular Housing State Company (CEHAP) are responsible for executing and monitoring the program: I - CEHAP is responsible for: a) Addressing the demands of infrastructure and technical assistance on Mature City Condominium, when necessary and solicited by the beneficiary or the administration; b) Following and inspecting both the construction process and service providing; c) Hiring companies to build the structure as well as to provide maintenance and repair services to the homes, when the beneficiary isn't the one supposed to provide them; d) Demanding that the company hired to build the condominium fix any existing damage from construction, such as cracks in the home's walls, infiltration, piping or electrical issues or problems with windows and doors. II - SEDH is responsible for: a) Keeping a supporting staff for social assistance policies when executing the Social Project; b) Communicating by the proper means with other public sectors and entities in the civic society in order to promote integrated actions that contribute to strengthen and improve the protection and defense network around the rights of the elderly; c) Monitoring and evaluating the implemented project aiming to ensure that all equipment are used to their correct ends; d) Financing the Social Project, also providing human resources for it to be carried out in the intended aim, quality standards and deadline. Mature City Program currently provides housing for 300 elderly people in all its condominiums in Paraíba.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Upon facing the identified problem, Paraíba State Government created a department within State Secretariat for Human Development (SEDH) in 2012 to form the State Policies for the Elderly, which began structuring services, programs and projects for this specific public. Regarding the implemented services, 26 Social Assistance Specific Reference Centers (CREAS) were distributed in regions to address and monitor any kind of violation to the rights of the elderly through an interdisciplinary staff. When coupled with 78 more city CREAS, they cover all Paraíba cities. Regarding the programs, Mature City Condominiums was the strategy presented in 2014 to address the housing deficit among the elderly population in the State. Mature City Program's proposal is linked to other actions carried out by the State, as it sees the elderly person through a multidimensional point of view. Regarding the projects, there were 44 private, non-profit Elderly Only Long Stay Institutions (ILPIs) in Paraíba, working in precarious conditions and about to be closed by the State Public Prosecution Office for not meeting the basic structural conditions to safely host their elderly. Therefore, sill in 2014, Paraíba State Government created the Hosting Project, which has already provided 3.5 million reais to improve the ILPIs in the State. Although no ILPI is completely run by the State, this hosting service is crucial to cover the needs of the elderly in the State, because as soon a Mature City beneficiary is no longer able to care for themselves, they return to living with their families or are taken to an ILPI partnered with SEDH. Regarding investment from the State Treasure in Mature City Program, over 12 million reais were offered to create the condominiums in João Pessoa (finished) Campina Grande (finished), Cajazeiras (finished) and Guarabira (in final stages). The Federal and Cities Governments do not provide resources for the program, meaning Mature City is not co-funded. Investments for each unit of Mature City Program are estimated in 4 million reais. The units of Patos and Sousa cities are in public bidding stages and will be built next. The Program aims to cover all 14 Geo-administrative Regions of the state, as the State Government of Paraíba follows that model of regionalization and structures its actions by public state administration cells. That way, the monitoring of Mature City's actions falls to Regional Management technical teams from Social Assistance and Health areas present in the territories. SEDH is responsible for administering the condominium and seeking out other public agencies and civic society entities to promote integrated actions. State Secretariat of Health (SES) is responsible for activities in the Health Center, providing professionals in nursing, physiotherapy, psychology and odontology. State Secretariat of Security and Social Defense (SEDES) is responsible for keeping the condominiums safe and Popular Housing State Company (CEHAP) is responsible for coming up with and executing the technical project, as well as addressing demands on infrastructure and technical assistance and managing condominium taxes.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The idea was conceived by Paraíba State Governor Mr. Ricardo Coutinho, who when travelling in Europe got to know of a vertical condominium for the elderly in Paris, and when faced with the reality in Paraíba, he shaped that idea to build Mature City condominium and fix the identified problem, given the characteristics of the territory. Through an administrative decision, he gathered CEHAP and SEDH technicians and closely followed the whole process necessary to implement it.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The main results of Mature City Program include: • Social inclusion of the elderly • Lessening the housing deficit in the elderly population • Improving their quality of life, sociability and visibility • Lessening the violation of their rights (mistreating, isolation, etc.) • An intersectional approach to the issue, as in involves a number of participant institutions, as well as monitoring it, as is the case of partner Federal University of Paraíba (UFPB) Mature City Program is directly aligned with UN's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 - Sustainable Communities and Cities, specifically goal 11.1, which aims to guarantee access to safe, adequate, affordable housing and basic services for all as well as upgrading slums by 2030. Besides directly attending to 2030 Agenda SGD 11, Mature City initiative integrates actions beyond housing policies, addressing Health Care and Social Assistance needs. Therefore, the program also contributes to SDG 1 - No Poverty, as the selected beneficiaries also meet the economic and social eligibility criteria. Another 2030 goal addressed by the initiative is SGD 3 - Good Health and Well-being. Mature City Condominiums include a basic health care center to provide medical assistance with professionals that closely follow the elderly and give them basic attention. The structure also includes a walking lane and equipped gym that allow the elderly to exercise safely.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Going by the premise that the program attends to elderly people with autonomy to carry out Daily Life Tasks (AVDs) and that forming visibility of the elderly and promoting sociability free from State interference and both among the main goals of the program, two main obstacles were faced when implementing the initiative: • Paternalist culture: the belief elders have that the State is legally responsible for them regarding routine issues of the condominium, including situations of behavioral issues involving residents; • The process of disconnecting the elderly that no longer fit the eligibility criteria of the program. For the first problem identified, SEDH monitors the program and has been carrying out themed meetings with technicians to solve issues such as autonomy, visibility, rights and duties etc. Based on these meetings were created assembly approved Internal Rules for each condominium, containing the norms of living to be followed. Regarding the disconnection of those who are no longer able to carry out AVDs and need special care but do not have family links of any kind, vacancies were opened on ILPIs institutional hosting network through Hosting Project.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Mature City Condominiums are irrevocably relevant to Paraíba citizens for providing decent housing and quality of life to the elderly. The initiative was nationally recognized through a Merit Seal Award in 2015, winning categories "Project of Regional Impact" and "Project Focused on Attending Specific Groups". Mature City is an inclusive, socially fair public policy come true. Its main impact is seen on an intersectional approach that allows the elderly to be monitored in their multidimensional aspect. The condominium also has a direct impact on elderly focused health, leisure and culture in social vulnerability situation, providing them with health care as well as social interaction, leisure, sport and culture. Beyond the condominium itself, the initiative also has an impact on Long Stay Institutions (ILPs), reopening vacancies once taken by elders who had full autonomy to carry out Daily Life Tasks (AVDs) so these vacancies are available to those more suited to fill them. The interventions promoted by Mature City Condominium initiative can be measured by Popular Housing State Company (CEHAP) Housing Registry, through addressing the demands presented to them, as well as data on ILPs vacancies taken by elders outside the intended profile.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Not applicable

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Mature City Condominium is ruled by State Drecree 35.072 dated June 10th 2014, which establishes an income of up to 5 times the minimum wage and the age of at least 60 years old as eligibility criteria. The age group served by the initiative is not prioritized by gender, since all that meet the criteria are already prioritized. Therefore, the program does not prioritize women or children, since it equally serves only men and women who are 60 years old or older.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   State Secretariat for Human Development
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Maria Aparecida Meneses
Title:   Secretary of State  
Telephone/ Fax:   +558332185074
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   avenida Epitácio Pessoa 2501, Bairro dos Estados
Postal Code:   58030-002
City:   João Pessoa
State/Province:   Paraíba

          Go Back

Print friendly Page