Housing as a Human Right

Posted: December 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

Housing is a human right recognized by a number of international human rights laws. For example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted after the Second World War, promised:

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood. Still, the National Coalition for the Homeless estimates of the number of homeless people in the US range from 1.6 to 3.5 million. Foreclosures are soaring. Some housing experts say 4 million foreclosures are possible in 2010. There were 3.4 million homes which got foreclosure notices, auction sale notices or bank repossessions in 2009. In the first quarter of 2010, RealtyTrac reported there were 932,000 foreclosures. Auctions were scheduled on 369,000 homes in the same time. Banks repossessed 257,000 homes during that time.

Organizations working to exercise peoples’ human rights to housing include Take Back the Land and the US Human Rights Network. Both are working with local community organizations to support their campaigns.

(This is an excerpt from an article by: Bill Quigley, Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a Professor of Law at Loyola University New Orleans.)

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