Marcos Alves da Silva stands in the kitchen of his home where he lives with his wife Maria de Lourdes, their seven children and four grandchildren.

They live on Morro da Mutuca, a hillside community of red brick homes, flanked by Atlantic Forest, with unpaved streets that turn to thick mud when it rains, in Parelheiros, a poor semi-rural district on the far-fung outskirts of Sao Paulo.

Since Brazil plunged into a deep recession three years ago, 40-year-old Marcos finds work increasingly scarce.

The informal day jobs he does as a bricklayer or handyman pay less than they used to and he often ends up going to the streets to collect scrap and recyclables to sell.

“In the past if I earned 100 Brazilian real [about $24], it would be enough to buy lots of things at the supermarket,” he says. But these days he’ll work for just 30 real (less than $7.50).

The family’s kitchen cupboard contains just half a bag of rice, some flour and salt. The fridge is broken. Inside are some bottles of water and a plastic bag filled with small chunks of pink meat.

“These are the leftover fatty bits, we ask the butcher shop to give them to us,” he tells Al Jazeera.

In less than two weeks, Brazilians will head to the polls to elect new president and representatives, but voters here in Parelheiros have little faith in politicians, with extreme poverty and hunger on the rise.

Experts blame high unemployment from the recession and falling incomes, coupled with deep austerity measures.

In the run-up to Brazil’s last elections in 2014 unemployment was at a record low and the country was removed from the UN Hunger Map.

Exact figures on how much extreme poverty has risen since then are hard to come by.

According to one study undertaken by Action Aid Brazil and Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analysis (Ibase), extreme poverty rose from 5.2 million people in 2014 to 11.9 million in 2017, based on the July 2017 definition of extreme poverty, which includes those living on less than 102.44 real (about $25) a month.

For Sao Paulo’s LCA Consultancy, using data from Brazil’s Continuous National Household Sample Survey (PNAD), extreme poverty rose from 13.3 million in 2016 to 14.8 million in 2017, using the World Bank’s definition of living on $1.90 or less a day.

Unemployment remains stubbornly high at 12.3 percent or 12.8 million people, according to Brazil’s Institute of Geography and Statistics, a scant recovery since its 13.7 percent peak in early 2017.

-Aljazeera