Vitor Carlos da Silva Maio
The programme is entitled “Habita Jovem” and it supports young home owners with financial subsidies for the appropriate restoration of ruins in Monchique. Vitor Carlos da Silva Maio is 33 and his new old house is nearing completion. He’s been working hard on it since 2011: he’s built a new roof, insulated the walls professionally, assigned all the electrical rewiring and sanitary installations to specialists, ordered new doors and windows, laid floors and much more. It has also already been decided that he will be sharing the beautiful new old house with his partner Joana Patricia Rosa António. At the moment, the trained bricklayer is still busy working on the kitchen and living room. He told ECO123 he was still eagerly awaiting the cheque from the municipal council, which promised him 7,422.60 euros in support. Because then he could pay for the windows and doors and make the house ready for winter.
The local programme by Monchique municipal council “Conservação/Recuperação de Habitação Própria Permanente” was initiated by the current president and is intended to support another dozen applicants up to the end of the year. It says that anyone who has not yet passed the age of 40 and now buys a ruin in Monchique can receive a subsidy of up to 5,000 euros for it from the municipality and an additional 15,000 euros for the restoration. The condition is that you live in the village. When Vitor Maio bought the approximately 5,000 m2 plot with the ruin in Sítio do Torjal in September 2009, he paid 60,000 euros. At that time there was no subsidy for that. But the house wasn’t habitable. He spent many weekends and a lot of time after work toiling away to restore it. It always helped him, he said, that he is himself a bricklayer. The house now contains an almost finished kitchen, two bathrooms, two bedrooms and soon a living room too.
Vitor Maio says he enjoys living in the country because life is manageable there and stress-free, especially in Monchique because of the climate and the family, his work in a local construction company and, of course, because he has lots of friends here. And once he has a bit of free time again, he would like to start mountain-biking again, because cycling is his hobby. As Vitor Maio takes ECO123 on a guided tour, he points out the restoration of the old masonry, which was built entirely of local granite at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and has now been completely and professionally repointed by him. Centuries-old cork oaks belong to the house itself and a fine garden with olive and other fruit trees. The free range chickens have also found a home here.