Housing Rights

posts about the right to adequate housing, including the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

CMHC Says It’s True – There’s A Mould Issue For People In Core Housing Need

Canada has a standard for adequate housing. It was last revised in 1980! At that time, the focus shifted from whether there was indoor plumbing to structural issues like...

Can Yesterday’s Perfect Laws Protect Our Legal Future?

For better or worse, America's legal protections for its citizens are currently trapped in an 'originalist' time warp. The results are based on the belief that when the American...

Women’s Housing, Land And Property Rights: Is The Developed World Delusionally Self-Important?

For many decades, women from developed countries have provided guidance and support to their counterparts in the developing world. Idealists, young and old, have travelled far and wide to...

Punish The Unhoused? What To Make Of Law Enforcement Support For Their Political Masters?

A U.S. report from National Public Radio explains that new local laws, which criminalize people who are unhoused, are supported by local law enforcement in Northern Nevada. The public...

Grants Pass, Oregon: A Heart Of Darkness? The U.S. Supreme Court Will Decide

The United States Supreme Court will be starting a hearing this week to consider the rights of people who are homeless. The media is absolutely humming in anticipation. To...

Hate-on For Migrant Housing Undermines A Nation’s Future Health

Many countries in Far East are in a tizzy. The cause: their citizens are reluctant to have children. Public health incentives are being deployed everywhereAs one example, try: Waiting...

Unhoused? Why Shiver When Warm Emergency Shelters Await You?

City councils bring their own values and concerns to their decision-making. When it comes to the homeless, do those values, well-meaning or no, tend to mirror the opinions of...

Life In Homeless Encampments In Canada Exposed

April 2020 saw the publication of A National Protocol for Homeless Encampments in Canada (the Protocol). It was timely because it appeared at the beginning of COVID when everyone...

Dipping From The Well of Knowledge About The Right To Adequate Housing

We're Canadian and have published posts about Canadian Leilani Farha during the time she held the position of Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing. As such, we've...

Can’t Legally Attack The Homeless? California Explores Benefits of Illegality

Homeless California residents (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one) may once again be forced to rely upon their 'fairy godmother.' That entity would be the Ninth...

Unhoused Encampments: Will Supreme Court Kick ‘Martin v Boise’ Off The Curbs?

The federal Ninth Judicial Circuit Court (the Ninth Circuit) covers most of the U.S. west coast states from Alaska to California. In consideration of those who are unhoused, the...

Is A Constitution-Protected Right To Housing Fundamentally A Women’s Issue?

The world is full of both sane and crackpot human ideals enshrined in national constitutions. Americans, for example have a constitutional right to arm bears. Or have we got...

Unable To Afford Housing? Easy And Cheap To Brand Them Loonies On The Loose

The year 1984 has come and gone. The novel of the same name lives on as a possible expression of a variety of repugnant futures. Currently, we are looking...

Offering Health Care That Is Safe For People Who Are Homeless

About 1980, this writer attended a presentation by a physician from El Salvador. He talked about practising medicine in a civil war. He spoke about his patient who needed...

Missouri “Too Many Targets” Save The State’s Homeless From Jail

The rest of the world slowly adapts to the idea that homeless people are not all depraved junkies, but mostly people who can't afford homes. Not in Missouri, however,...

Where Canada Needs To Go Next On Its Journey To The Right To Adequate Housing

Last month, we shared the work of FRAPRU, a organization made up of 80+ national, regional and local organizations active in the Province of QuebecFRAPRU aligns with the organization's...

Germany, Famous for Building Better, Builds Better Home Rental Lifestyles

Renting in the United Kingdom? Perhaps you have lived a life summed up by the following: moving through no less than 10 different homes over 15 years, the journey...

Responses To Housing Emergencies That Put Housing Access In Local Hands

This post is about two remarkable women who are reframing how we think about housing emergencies. Yasmeen Lari and Marie McGregor Pitawanakwat are from different parts of the world....

Australian Human Right To Adequate Housing? Been There, Done That

A pressing question for Australia comes from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC): "if housing was considered a human right, would it fix our housing crisis?" One disturbing possible answer may...

BC Gov’t Defined Shelter: To Be Reasonably Available or Unreasonably Unavailable?

A recent post of ours proclaimed: No Shoes, No Shirt, No Home? Still Room For You In West Coast Cities. Our focus was upon the Ninth Judicial Circuit of...

Bulldozer Justice: ‘The Rule BY Law’, Instead of ‘The Rule OF Law’

This post offers a perspective on 'The Right To Adequate Housing' and what it might mean as a legal term when a country accepts it as a right as...

Here Today Gone Tomorrow – Housing Solutions That Don’t Satisfy ‘Adequate’ Right To Housing

There's something useful to be learned about housing in general by considering the health benefits of stable housing for older people. We may not be as adaptable as we'd...

NYC Homeless Shelter in Trouble After 40 Years. The West Coast Wants A More Permanent Fix

Many countries have looked to America as a world leader. Not surprising then that people expect the United States, as the wealthiest country in the world, would be the...

Rights to Housing: Truth-Shaping in India, Rights For Whom and Who By?

The author of the following article, Mukta Naik, describes a basic human rights dilemma this way: "We live in a world where the truth has turned into a chimera. It...

Who Are Homelessness Policies Helping – A Toronto Case Study

In 2019, Canada officially embraced the right to adequate housing, following the language of the United Nations. Homelessness is prima facie (obvious) evidence that the right to adequate housing...

UK: Empty Land, Empty Houses, Empty Right To Adequate Housing

There is a major impediment to the United Nations Right to Adequate Housing. It is a common occurrence everywhere, and a familiar sight to a more mobile segment of...

Too Grown Up To Be Granted A Right To Education?

Does a Human Right to Adequate Housing include education? COVID-19 offered a meaningful perspective on this question when the pandemic schooling shifted away from the traditional 'school-house' approach. Thanks...

Foundations To The Right To Adequate Housing – How Countries Sign On

Everyone should have the right to housing. The statement is fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't really tell us much about what it means on the...

Dealing With Major Housing Disasters: The United Nations Has A Recipe

The 'first world' consists of all those countries which, while pleading poor (don't they all?) consider themselves arrived in the land of advanced civilization. Their self-importance is often iron-clad....

McKinney-Vento Meets The Right To Adequate Housing

An article in The Conversation about the McKinney-Vento Act set off a lengthy discussion at the editorial table of affordablehousingaction.org: does McKinney-Vento connect with the right to adequate housing...

Massachusetts Temporary Shelters Overflow: Is It A Shelter Crisis Or A Housing Crisis?

A right to temporary housing? Sorry, Massachusetts is all full up with its existing responsibilities to locals in distress. There's no room for incomers. The issue at hand in the...

Foundations To The Right To Adequate Housing – Monitoring And Reporting

Everyone should have the right to housing. The statement is fine as far as it goes, but it doesn't really tell us much about what it means on the...

Portugues Ocupas: Haven’t Got Squat? Squat Is What You Get

Portugal is undergoing an exercise familiar to Americans who followed recent events by West Coast activists: illegal(?) squatting in unoccupied housing. That story focused on the actions of moms...

Complexities In Data Collection – Small Choices With Big Effects

The National Alliance to End Homelessness (The Alliance) is thinking about the data it collects about homelessness in the United States. The Alliance's data feeds into annual reports to...

UK Homeless Teens: Right To Adequate Housing? The Devil Is In The Details

It's easier to pay lip service to 'adequate housing' if you can drag the costs down. The issue arises for a government tasked with arranging a young person's care....

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Home? Still Room For You In West Coast Cities

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit continues to influence U.S. West Coast communities with growing populations of people who are homeless. Unlike other judicial circuits,...

How Long Before Persistent, Growing Homelessness Demands A Final Solution?

When your country needs housing, it is both conventional as well as common to build houses for people who need them. A substantial number of the world's countries are...

Potable Water: A Pillar In The Right To Adequate Housing, Also Essential To Life

This is the final post in a series that looks at housing and homelessness in South Africa and Canada. It might be a source of inspiration/direction for housing efforts...

Housing, Land And Property Rights In South Africa And Canada

This is part of a series that looks at housing and homelessness in South Africa and Canada. It might be a source of inspiration/direction for housing efforts in either...

Canada Embraces Refugees With The Homeless Opportunites Of Full Citizens

In Canada, there is a certain smug satisfaction that we are handling refugees the 'right way.' By and large (but not entirely) there today remain more than just the...

Emergency Responses Miss Opportunities To Build Up Communities

This is part of a series that looks at housing and homelessness in South Africa and Canada. It might be a source of inspiration/direction for housing efforts in either...

South Africa: Women’s Experience Of Post-Apartheid Development

This is part of a series that looks at housing and homelessness in South Africa and Canada. It might be a source of inspiration/direction for housing efforts in either...

South Africa: Lessons For The World From A Deadly Fire

This post starts a series about housing and homelessness in South Africa and Canada. South Africa and Canada share a long history. Here are a few sample events: ...

Success Of Affordable Housing Initiatives Must Be Tackled At Least 3 Ways At Once

In this day and age, there are three important 'flavours' of affordable housing, all of which need to be considered and addressed in order to tackle national housing crises: ...

Roma: Indigenous Peoples Needing Specialized Human Rights?

Roma are often linked in the English language to wanderers in the British Isles and Ireland, described as 'gypsies', 'travellers', or 'tinkers.' Are they Europe's indigenous people? It's a...

Speaking Up About How Housing Systems Are Failing Us

Living in Canada's arctic territories is not easy. Housing is scarce, in poor condition and often very crowded. Housing advocates have been speaking to the government, the media and...

How Efforts To Crush A Tent City Produced An Enduring Record Of Their Value

People who experience homelessness have a lot to contend with. Where will they go to eat, sleep, get clean, do laundry? With these basics up in the air, it's...

Trouble In Paradise: How Far Does NY Commitment To Shelter Actually Stretch

All right, we are exaggerating slightly, calling New York 'paradise.' But when it comes to that state's legal commitment to a human right to adequate shelter, there are some...

NYC Mayor’s Message To The Unhoused: Don’t Come Here, We’re Full up.

A combination of events makes New York City an excellent example of why every mayor and council of every town and city in every world democracy should think seriously...

An Action Plan To Achieve The Right To Adequate Housing

Mariana Mazzucato and Leilani Farha have collaborated on a roadmap to achieve the right to adequate housing. The roadmap starts with a mission. Mazzucato and Farha argue that having a...

Housing Rights Of People With Disabilities – Overlooked And Understudied

Jewelles Smith is based in British Columbia. She has deep knowledge of parenting with a disability, through personal experience, disability advocacy and research. In her doctoral research, Smith compares human...

Should Housing Be A Wealth Creation Tool Or A Social Benefit? An Aussie Medical Perspective

In case you hadn't noticed that your own national housing emergency looks a lot like Australia's, an InSight article by Caitlin Wright describes some conditions that you will probably...

Canada Cares Enough To Allow The Homeless to Commit Suicide Without Being Fined

Other countries take note: Canada would seem to be extraordinarily compassionate by allowing 'assisted euthanasia' for any strongly-felt reason. When applying that compassion to a national homelessness crisis, it...

Homelessness, Housing First And Living In A State Of Lack

The article linked to this post is about what it's like to experience homeless in two cities in Ontario. It's also about what people experience when they leave homelessness...

Perspectives On Housing Rights In Canada – Experts Weigh In

Today's post is about housing rights in Canada, where the United Nations' right to adequate housing was affirmed in law in 2019Going forward, this means that Canada's definition of...

Homeless Or Not, Your Belongings Frame Who You Are. Losing Them Can Be Devastating

Not all that long ago, it was against the law to be homeless in Canada. That changed in 1972, when vagrancy laws were repealed. So, imagine a currently homeless...

A Human Right To Adequate Housing: Thunder Bay Wrestles With Homelessness In This Light

Like virtually all North American cities, Thunder Bay, Ontario faces the reality of persistent homelessness. Like a smaller number of cities, indigenous people make up a portion of Thunder...

UK Youth In Care + Private Care Homes = Toxic Combo: The Dregs of Failed Neolibralism

What is it about the attraction of governments to the almost guaranteed predation caused by funding private-enterprise care homes? The title above reflects a United Kingdom report on dreadfully...

Years Pass Before A Death Discovered: A Public Housing Association Too Business-y To Notice?

How can a nonprofit or a charity become significantly profitable? Answer: it can't. But non-profits can create a comfortable living for a group of employees. Some of them, with...

Been Homeless? No? A Property Guardian Maybe — Not Quite Homeless, But Usefully Close

Late in life, I'm pleased to learn a little about property guardianship. Seems I was a property guardian and never knew it. So was my daughter, at least in...

Homeless With Mental Problems/Drug Abuse Issues: Human Rights Bang Heads With Compassion

With roughly one in three people who are homeless having mental health or drug abuse issues, the growing numbers of people on the streets without shelter is creating antagonism...

A Survey In Search of A Human Right To Shelter: Tiny Temporary Homes

While news of yet another collection of 'tiny homes' is becoming more commonplace in North America, they are by no means a standard method of community commitment to housing...

Slum Clearances – An Unlikely Source Of Housing Inspiration?

With all of the reports about tent clearances across North America, it is encouraging to learn that there are some places where the rights of people living in encampments...

Pitching In For Better Housing In Louisville, Kentucky

When you think about tenant organizing in Kentucky, you might visualize Black tenants calling out their housing authority for poor conditions. The article linked to this post tells a...

Any Teeth To ‘Adequate’ In Human Right To Housing? Australian High Court Will Decide

Here's an update about the government of Australia's Northern Territory and the housing it provides to its tenants. Last year, tenants brought a court case over the definition of adequate...

A Crime To Ask For Help? Such Statutes Declared Unconstitutional At Last!

The lifeguard is no more than a couple of strokes away from the drowning person when... "Stay Back" shouts an officer in the police boat that speeds between the...

In Praise of Once-Canvas Slums. Consider Modern Ripstop, Health And Safety Incl.

Around the world, tent encampments have been a sensible, practical alternative to more permanent housing when none other is available. Search Wikimedia Commons for 'tents' to reveal some of...

One Shape of The Human Rights of Children In A World Of Homelessness

Those countries that advertise themselves (or at least believe in themselves) as 'lands of opportunity' are living the lie when they can build battleships but not housing for the...

Nevada’s Toothless Tiger? New Laws Granting Human Rights For the Homeless.

Well, the State spirit appears willing, but the local flesh seems to be weak. As far as the facts are concerned, even state legislators in Nevada would appear to...

Absolute Freedom For The Housing Free Market: A New Way To Protect Renters

Those of you who follow Scottish politics will have noted the departure of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon from the political stage. The reason for her departure is largely due...

How Australia’s Housing Became ‘A Closed Shop’ Favouring ‘Already-Owners’

Currently around the world, country after country allows and/or actively encourages a gambler's haven — the use of housing ownership, not (or only incidentally) as shelter, but as chips...

Public Housing Thwarts, Not Supports, The Human Right To Housing After Incarceration

Encouraging as it might superficially seem, America's Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) actually stood up in 2022 to allow Americans with criminal convictions to have access to...

Spain’s Right To Housing Law: Freedom From Housing Price Extortion. Or. . .Not!

Spain has just passed a Right to Housing law. The law allows rent controls in any and all housing markets that are deemed by local governments to be 'stressed.' This...

Prying Open The Doors To Housing For Gender-Diverse People

The Women's National Housing and Homelessness Network (WNHHN) is drawing attention to the issue of how gender-diverse peopleThe research discussed in this post uses the term “gender-diverse” as a...

Notes From The Heat Pump Battlefront Lines

Forgetful as always, it's time to quiz our readers on what we've been reporting. We need all the help we can get. Heat pumps? Yes, we know we've been there,...

Toronto Needs More Supportive Housing – A Hospital Speaks Up

Here is a brief story about social medicine in the city of Toronto. It is an interview with Dr. Andrew Boozary, who heads the social medicine program at the...

Chronic Homeless Incarceration: Who, What, Where Why, When, How?

A magical mystery tour is currently being considered by a few American jurisdictions. What percentage of the people experiencing chronic homelessnessChronic homelessness means homelessness lasting for a long time...

Canadian Tent Encampments Win Precedent-Setting Legal Reprise

Across North America a strange kind of post-COVID vindictiveness towards homeless people seems to have set in. Jurisdictions everywhere have been passing laws to ban all kinds of activities...

U.S. East & West Coasts Flirt With Incarceration Programs For Chronic Homeless

Recently, considerable fuss has been generated in New York City concerning the involuntary incarceration of chronically homeless citizens, presumably in some unofficial and deniable category of 'tremendous nuisance,' and/or...

A Once-Homeless Socialist Who Wants More Upscale Housing Built?

No, this isn't about an influential person who experienced homelessness, saw the light, and embarked on a fight for the Human Right To Adequate Housing via the power of...

The Serendipity Of Canada’s Commitment To Allow Suicide Of The Homeless

Well now, here's a convenience that nobody considered when Canada decided to allow mercy killing of those whose lives had become an unbearable torment. Physical pain was the torment...

New U.S. Federal ‘Renter Bill of Rights.’ Housing Help Or Hot Air Balloon?

The strains of the COVID-19 pandemic have laid bare the increasing crisis faced by America's renters that is now reaching into the middle classes. The U.S. Biden administration plans...

Mental Heath Compulsory Tuneup Program For NY Homeless: Still Waiting

Recently we reported (alongside a good chunk of the world's press) when New York City's Mayor Eric Adams announced his plan to remove homeless people from the streets and...

Affordable-> Unaffordable. Temporary-> Permanent. UK Plays Name Change Game

The United Kingdom National charity, Shelter, laments something affordablehousingaction.org has moaned about for a long time: Canada's federal government, like the UK national government, has conspired with builders. They...

Uprooting The Homeless: Meet Them and Cheat Them Today, Lose Their Trust Tomorrow

"When you ain't got nothin', you got nothin' to lose," sang the Bob Dylan in his famous song "Like a Rolling Stone." Dylan is renowned for his great lyrics. But...

The Homeless Are . . . Are . . . So What Are Your Particular Explanation(s)?

The homeless are: unable to afford housing for their family afraid of being beaten to death on the street, or in a homeless shelter too lazy to work ...

Can the Human Right To Adequate Housing Include Bits Of ‘Unhousing?’

"Adequate" can be a vague term when not supported by a more detailed explanation of what what it actually means. 'Has a roof?' Well of course, in that particular...

Come From Away? Don’t Cut No Ice With Us. Not Your Home, So Begone, Homeless

"Papers, please!" Wouldn't it be great if a community could gold-braid and tin hat a cadre of officious, hopefully armed, bureaucrats. They would challenge those hoards of suspicious undesirables that...

Coming To Grips With The Financialization Of Housing

Since the 2008 mortgage crisis, more people have become aware of the financialization of housing. Housing has shifted from being a place where you live to become partially or...

Building On COVID Innovations To Support People Who Are Homeless

Have you ever had a day when you just needed to rest? There could be any number of reasons why you don't actually do it. But at least there...

Will Neoliberalism Self-Destruct? Housing For All Is The Ultimate Challenge

Those of us who are immersed in Western society may well consider ourselves as comfortable frogs immersed in slowly heating water, unlikely even to notice being slowly cooked to...

‘Why Should Londoners (Canada) Fret About Financialization in London, UK?

Is London, UK and its environs the largest housing drain in the world — the leader of rapidly growing worldwide shortage? Might be. It's certainly a candidate for that dubious...

California: Exploring The Human Reality of Adequate Housing For All

The human right to adequate housing is a noble aspiration. And if communism and socialism have contributed nothing else to humanity, they have at least proven that determined governments...

London, Ontario: Does A Civic Emergency Require Light At The End Of The Tunnel?

Ho Hum, Another Day, Another City Emergency. That's what London, Ontario might be trying to sell in order the access federal and provincial funds available to cities that are...

Big Landlords Beware: Activists In Berlin Celebrate The City’s Right To Expropriate

If you haven't been following the rental housing fight in Berlin, Germany, it's time to catch up. Berlin is a city/state where renters far outnumber homeowners. A considerable majority...

Gregory Ain, FBI-Hounded Architect With The Fairest Visions Of America

Gregory Ain wanted to build social housing in Los Angeles. During a lengthy, illustrious career he won a Guggenheim grant to research small, inexpensive, single family homes. Ultimately, the...

Will The ‘Crisis Of The Day’ Forever Delay The Human Right To Adequate Housing?

Waiting lists exist worldwide for those who need affordable housing but don't have it. Ultimately, do these lists represent a positive movement towards a human right to adequate housing...

U.S. Government’s Action On Homelessness Heads Off In New Directions

Plans to deal with homelessness are not new in the United States, and the one that has just been signed by President Biden is certainly timely.  This post is...

New York City Erodes Fragile Human Rights Protection For Mental Health Sufferers

The following Guardian article — a personal diary of one American with mental illness who was incarcerated against her will — is a vision of horror. . .  for...

Revisiting Public Investment In Non-Market Housing

This post is about a report that revisits a housing policy debate in Canada from the 1990's. The results will be of interest to decision makers, policy makers, advocates,...
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