Local was visited frequently by him when he was local archbishop.
Residents are calling for the region to be urbanized.
Pope Francis became the name of a neighborhood in a poor region of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is a settlement he visited frequently when he did his pastoral work as archbishop of the Argentine capital and the population now claims decent housing. This Thursday (13), Francisco completes one year at the head of the Catholic Church.
"We chose the name of the neighborhood among all the residents. We identified ourselves very much with the pope, since he is well aware of the needs of people living in poverty," said Efe Marcelo, one of the members of the almost 1,000 families who live near the Villa 20, in the district of Lugano.
Some 3,500 people have made these lands their home with the hope that the authorities will comply with the law dictated in 2005 that says the region must be urbanized. The young families, the majority with at least two children, are mainly Argentines, Bolivians and Paraguayans.
"Our problem is that of decent housing. The authorities claim that the region is contaminated and that, therefore, we have to leave here, but we tire of lies. They say that they will give the houses, the years pass, and nothing is done" , denounced Marcelo.
Waiting for the court to issue an eviction order, the residents of the pope Francisco neighborhood will send a letter to the pontiff, who in December last year publicly claimed decent houses for all homeless families, explaining the struggle, and thus making it appear " through a voice as important as his ".
"Our struggle is the same as that of all other poor neighborhoods, the struggle for urbanization, which lack dignified housing for the people," said Marcelo.
In large pots heated by the fire, residents prepare community food, with food donated by neighbors in the region, and milk for children, which they share among young mothers.
"People live normally, within the situation in which we find ourselves," says Marcelo. "We don't want anything as a gift, only that they urbanize and that we can pay for the electricity, water and the deed for the house".
Fernando Murias, one of the three doctors who work there together with a nurse, says that, for now, the situation is under control, and that the problem will come in the cold of winter.
"There are a lot of pregnant girls and women here. There are still no health problems, but they will appear with the cold. We are getting information about everyone who may have a history of bronchiolitis to prepare," he said.
Doctors are divided by region and visit the precarious houses built with wood and metal, recording the residents' clinical history, with special attention to children.
"When there was a junkyard of cars here, we had 14 cases of saturnism (lead poisoning). Then came a court order for sanitation and urbanization, which until now has not been complied with" denounced Murias.
"Without family support, this situation could not be maintained. They are young families that have the support of their grandparents, who are taking care of the piece of land while their parents work and the children are in school," said the doctor.
With a mass, held by Father Franco, one of the well-known "village priests" who work in the marginalized regions of Buenos Aires, the Papa Francisco neighborhood was inaugurated on Wednesday (12).
"It is an excellent idea to appeal to the pope to raise awareness of the situation of these people and to claim that the church gets involved in finding a solution to the problem," said Murias before continuing his visit home through the houses.