Officials here in Brazil's largest city on Wednesday dismantled a shantytown known as Cracolandia after transferring the largely crack-addicted residents to nearby hostels.

The operation offers the residents a place to sleep, three meals a day, 15 reais ($6.30) for four hours of community work and access to a drug rehabilitation program.

Since December, the hundreds of residents of the "favela" in downtown Sao Paulo have been able to register for one of the 400 available spots in the program.

Though participants are not required to go to rehab, the initiative is aimed at getting the addicts off drugs, municipal Health Secretary Jose Silici said.

However, not everyone is pleased with the project.

Daniel, 34, who began smoking crack at 12, said that the politically powerful "are showing interest" in the situation of the drug addicts but the success of the operation, in his judgment, "will depend on the police."

"Instead of protecting us, they come and they beat us, they mistreat us," said Daniel, a married father of one. "We don't trust the politicians or the police. We'll see where all this goes," he told Efe.

Eva, who has been using crack for two years, said that the aim of the project is very clear: "It's still not known what's going to happen. We don't know what we're going to have to work at or how long they're going to let us be in the hostels. For me, it's fantastic that they're giving me a room but we'll see for how long."

"What they're doing is cleaning out the center of the city with an eye toward the World Cup. They don't want us here. They came and told us they were going to knock down the huts, that if we wanted to sign up for the program, fine, if not, for us to go elsewhere," she told Efe.

Brazil is playing host to the 2014 soccer World Cup, which begins in June. EFE