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São Paulo reaches out to homeless through street art

The streets of São Paulo, Brazil are populated by some 20,000 homeless people. Many of them have pets, and most homeless shelters don't accept pets, which is why São Paulo's City Hall is now reaching out to these people with street art to tell them about shelters that now accept pets.

São Paulo's public shelters remain with empty beds every day because many of the homeless do not want to abandon their dogs. Now, the new units accept and guarantee space for the pets, but misinformation left the beds still empty while hundreds of people continue to sleep on the sidewalks.

Since most homeless people don't have smartphones or access to television or internet, São Paulo City Hall decided to create a new communication channel, with a direct impact to the homeless people. Inviting five different street artists, they transformed the roof of viaducts and other places that only homeless people can see in a direct and effective media.

"The main goal is to talk to people when they go to sleep, when this is the scenario they see: the roof of the viaducts. It’s like using the public space as a new way of communication, and specific to talk with our target: the homeless people,” explained Átila Francucci, creative vice-president of Nova/sb, the São Paulo based agency that had developed the project.

Each artist (Galo, Randal, Pixote, Thassio and René Muniz) was given complete freedom to impress their own style on their graffiti, once it made clear that the new public shelters were dog friendly and nearby. For that, the agency studied the best dimensions, positions of the drawings, feasibility and security measures.

Like every street artwork, the five graffiti artworks will be available indefinitely. The main goal for City Hall is that the biggest possible number of people in vulnerable situations and their dogs have the opportunity to sleep and dream with comfort, safety and dignity.

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