Homeless Rights

Issues related to the legal, moral, social and other rights of people with experience of homelessness

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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: ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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. 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...

Why Evidence Should Be Part Of The Strategy To End Homelessness

David Park's book "The Fire In the Eye: A Historical Essay On The Nature and Meaning of Light" reviews the history of ideas, debates and thinking about what light...

“Housing First:” Hitting a Homeless Home Run With The Right Swing

Finland developed the Housing First model for "curing" homelessness. It recognizes chronic homeless as a disease closely linked to a lack of permanent personal shelter. The model proposes that...

More Positive Prospects For Tent Encampments As Winter Draws In

When it comes to homelessness, it seems the reasons that we (the housed) can come up with for clearing tent encampments are practically endless. Some examples: the campers are...

Does ‘Animal House’ Anarchy Feature As Tent Encampment Style? Some Say.

Surely drug addicts/dealers with mental health issues get a satisfying kick out of tent-camp anarchy, making big bucks as they do while getting to party all night For those...

Shelter: House . . Dorm . . Tiny Home . . Tent . . BAG?? Have We Reached The...

We have no desire to diss the fashion designer who created a live-in homeless bag as a memorial to a friend's father who was homeless and died of exposure....

Can Americans With Disabilities Navigate Sidewalks With Homeless Tents?

People who are homeless as a class may well be the most disadvantaged Americans of all. But alas, there are contenders for this status. Equally disadvantaged, if not more...

Psst! Wanna Become A Legit Homeless Tenter In The Land Of Somewhere Else?

Update: the Region of Waterloo is pressing on with its plan to open supported tent encampments for people who are homeless. The location has yet to be determined. Read...

No Camping! How U.S. Human Rights Give Recourse To Pushback From The Punished

In America, if a human right isn't enshrined to the U.S. Constitution, there's a tendency to think it can't possibly exist in any meaningful way. But times change everything....

Spotting Architecture That Encourages Homeless People To ‘Move On’

A recent affordablehousingaction.org post featured a town seemingly hell-bent on destroying its own quality of life — anything to get rid of those drug-crazed, brain-fried homeless folk who just...

Footloose And Fancy Free: Can RV Living Make Homelessness A Dream Come True?

The answer to the question posed in the headline above is a qualified and rapidly eroding 'maybe' heading towards the spectre of a probably soon-to-become universal 'no.' Up until a...

Challenging Canada’s Denial Of Health Care: A Path To Housing Rights?

Ontario's Superior Court has issued a decision in a case with significant implications for the right to adequate housing. The case involves Nell Toussaint, who has been challenging the...

Want To Erase Homelessness? Turn Your Township Into A Hellhole

Two stories about how to 'end' homelessness have emerged from a clever New Jersey township. The first: invite the police, well-known for their expertise in community planning and design, to...

Everyone Will Celebrate Today — World Homeless Day — In Different Ways

Affordablehousingaction.org is celebrating World Homeless Day, Monday, October 10, 2022 by publishing our 2418th and 2419th posts to help educate people about homelessness, affordable housing and housing rights (as...

Financialization Of Housing In Canada Exposed

Canada's National Housing Advocate has just released a study about the financialization of housing. Financialization of housing is about treating housing as a commodity for profitIt includes the structures...

What Would You Lose If Bulldozers Flattened Your Home?

Here's an opportunity to reflect on what you — and others — might cherish and mourn if your home was swept away by some deliberate, government approved action. Two back-to-back...

Experience Points The Way To Ending Homelessness in Canada

2022 marks the halfway point in Canada’s 10 year National Housing Strategy. It’s an occasion for reviewing and renewing the Strategy. Housing is something we all need, but despite being...

Canada Needs 2 Million Deeply Affordable Homes

Can Canada create 2 million homes that are affordable for the people in greatest need? Carolyn Whitzman says, "sure!" Whitzman is an Expert Advisor to the Housing Assessment Resource Tools...

UN Calls On Canada To Help Its Children By Upping Its Housing Game

The UN regularly reviews Canada's performance on human rights issues. Most recently, the rights of the child have been the subject of scrutiny. In the review process, Canada reports...

Proyecto Dignidad: Putting The Human Heart Into Tent Encampment Sweeps

Proyecto Dignidad is so far only a proposal for how to conduct tent encampment sweeps in San Francisco's Mission District. So you think you've got an illegal camping problem or...

Lots Of Work For Canada’s First Housing Advocate

Canada's first Federal Housing Advocate began accepting claims about the right to adequate housing on June 1, 2022. The Advocate’s office confirmed to us that they received nearly 200...

The Despicable UK Criminal Habit of ‘Vagrancy’ a.k.a. Homelessness

A pox on urban rowdies who keep people awake by partying long past our bedtimes. Statistics show (for the sake of argument anyway) that most twilight/darkness rowdies are males...

Sacramento Continues to Attempt Homeless Pratfalls With A Heart

Homelessnesses. What is it? By and large, it's what floats upon a city budget, certainly in California, which sees a lion's share of America's . . . whatever homelessness...

Community-Integrated Jailing For The Homeless Criminal Class?

Visit 'Ground Zero' in the world's homeless crisis, The City of Los Angeles (LA) in California. It's an encounter that every city with a homelessness problem should consider undertaking...

Activists Take Note: Homelessness Needs Ambassadors, Too. Like These

Do we need more activist explanations that parse such critical details as 'visible' and 'invisible' homelessness, as well as the specific health challenges suffered by the 'chronic' homelessness (not...

Vision and Evidence — An Important Pairing In A Campaign For Social Housing

Renters Rising and the Center For Popular Democracy have published a vision document for social housing advocates in the United States: Social Housing For All. The document sets the stage...

Free To Be Completely Nuts? California Winds Homelessness Into The Issue

California is re-examining mental health problems 'solved' half a century ago as a way of dealing with some aspects of chronic homelessness. Some chronically homeless people have such severe mental...

A Key To Implementing The Right To Adequate Housing In Canada: Coordination

Now that Canada has officially recognized the right to adequate housing in legislation (The National Housing Strategy Act), knowledgeable Canadians are busy helping the country to get off to...

Holding Government Feet To The Climate Change (And Other) Fire

Emergency planning is easy and inexpensive, at least compared to emergency management. History provides valuable support to researchers tasked with developing emergency plans. Add some creative thinkers and there...

Negligence or Lying? The Political Justification of Homeless Sweeps

Without a local, regional, or national program to develop truly affordable housing, what's to be done about exploding numbers of homeless? The front lines of the homeless crisis is a...

Nova Scotia Civility Strains To Accommodate The Homeless

For new arrivals, Nova Scotia offers a friendly sense of superiority not uncommon in the Canadian maritimes. It's a quiet certainty that "you've come to the right place." But...

Canada: Local Tools To Implement The Right To Adequate Housing

One thing you can say about local governments – they really can't turn away from the housing struggles of their residents. And to their credit, local governments in Canada have...

Homeless RV Problems Reveal The Limits of Soft-Hearted Shrug

Recreational Vehicles (RVs) are a subclass of generalized homeless problems and growing as all homelessness is in North America. An international view of officialdom seems to be that tents are...

Sacramento, CA Fights For A Legal Right To Housing For The Homeless

Over the last year, California's state capitol, Sacramento has been working hard to balance a responsibility to find or create shelter for the city's homeless. It has been a...

Homeless Human Rights Face-off: California Vs. Canada

As we all-too-superior Canadians know, Americans do a lot of whining and caterwauling about their rights. But, bottom line, none of that hot air is carved in stone (or...

A Path To Ending Forced Evictions

Watching as police pinch, push and shove a person who is homeless is uncomfortable. Yet as a society, when we call in police and others to clear encampments, we...

Sacramento County Climbs Aboard ‘Official Tent City’ Bandwagon

In 2021, the City of Sacramento fielded both praise and condemnation surrounding a plan for city-sanctioned 'tent cities.' They would be healthier safer, and less disruptive homeless 'housing' solutions...

Fresno’s Council Gets a Knee On Homeless Supporter Necks

How low can you go in criminalizing people who have the misfortune to be homeless? Fresno, California is certainly stretching the limits. Jail them? At least jail has food. And...

A ‘Green’ Opportunity To Make Homes Accessible

Disability rights activists have been pointing out that despite international agreement about accessibility rights, much of the built environment is not accessible. One of those activists, Graham Findlay, sees...

Winnipeg Manitoba Explores Fire Harm Reduction For Winter Homeless Camps

A home that provides warmth, light and cooking heat is in perpetual danger from fires. Two Eastern U.S. social housing (rent geared to income) buildings were the sites of...

Small Communities Also Challenged By Homelessness

As we transition towards at COVID endgame (please go away soon, Omicron!) one consistent story is the impact that COVID's economic pressures are having on homelessness responses. These responses...

NYC Trans Legal Victory A Step Forward For All Who Fear Homeless Shelter Violence

New York City, with homelessness mega-problems, is legally required to provide shelter for those homeless within its boundariesSee this article from the Coalition for the Homeless, which is the...

Wanted: Leadership From Toronto’s Council To Make Thousands Of Homes Legal

This is a story that is more than 20 years in the making, years in which Toronto City Council could have exercised leadership to protect housing for residents with...

Subjects Of A Lawsuit, Homeless In NYC Prevail Against Poisonous Neighbours

Do governments need to institute anti-discrimination laws to protect the working poor? When it comes to other disadvantaged classes — those suffering from discrimination due to gender, race colour,...

Sacramento “Right To Housing” A Whirlwind Of Praise, Condemnation

A plan to create a kind of "right to housing" in Sacramento California is a controversial proposal from its current mayor. It has been on local, national, and international...

Ho Hum: A Progress Report On Texas Criminalization Of The Homeless

Here's a sour-hearted Texas situation that could change at any moment. Nobody has yet been arrested for camping in that state! When we first heard the news in May...

Ready, Set… Wait! Where’s the Housing Advocate?

Update: On February 4, 2022, Canada announced the appointment of its first Housing Advocate, Marie-Josée Houle. Canada has launched itself on a path to recognize the right to adequate housingCanada's...

Realizing Housing Rights In Canada – Embarking On A New Journey

Bruce Porter, Executive Director of the Social Rights Advocacy Centre, works to improve the housing situation of people in Canada who live in poor conditions. Some of his work...

What Moves People to Help The Homeless? A Small Sampler

What moves people to help people who become homeless? Some are moved by hands-on helping, however unusual it may be. Try, for example: London, Ontario: People Worth Crocheting For Homeless...

Sebastopol, California To Meet The Halfway-Homeless Half Way

Care to get hung up on a philosophical argument? Are "homeless" people who live in recreation vehicles (RVs) and assorted other mobile contraptions actually homeless at all? In this age...

London, Ontario Homeless Shelters: Small Is Beautiful?

London, Ontario has been evaluating its homelessness response and appears to have been captivated by the possibilities of "small is beautiful." One aspect of this focus is the size...

Alberta Enemies: Homeless Workers. Homeless Yourself? Tough Shit

We Canadians are happy to agree with Americans that we're boring, but we tend to be smug in the knowledge that we are more civilized. Wetaskiwin, Alberta certainly puts...

A Formal Approach To Tent Cities, Both For Inhabitants And For City Council

The following article doesn't describe the first occurrence, and surely not the last, but there appears in some cities to be a modest trend towards actually tackling homeless encampments...

The Public Face Of Abject Poverty: Haligonian NIMBYites Call It In

Haligonian? Noun — a common name for residents of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It's a city like many in North America that has heeded the call of NIMBY (Not In...

Street Theft: Vancouver City Finders Keepers, Homeless Losers Weepers

Vancouver, B.C. is providing unexpected moral guidance for thieves. Don't steal once — steal daily. Then it's apparently not theft! Does this sound a little strange? Nevertheless the City of...

Do Those Visibly Homeless Crazies Know Better Than Most Of Us?

Visible homelessness is undeniably on the increase. Failing truly practical solutions, municipalities and regions are engaging in futile pop-up plow-down pop-up plow-down harassment of homeless tenters, excusing the necessity...

When Governments Sanction Theft From Their Homeless Citizens

It should be pointed out from the start that ownership of worthless, or near worthless "things" is not an exclusive preserve of the homeless. Anyone who has experienced selling...

Sacramento Flirts With Notion Of “Mandated” Housing For Homeless

The film Field of Dreams featured a famous prediction: "If you build it, they will come," referring to an unlikely baseball stadium in a rural American cornfield. The Mayor of...

Vote Housing: A Campaign To Change Canada’s Housing System

The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) is teaming up with five organizations in a campaign called Vote Housing, which aims to make Canada's housing policy an election issue. Why the...

T.O. Encampment Sweep: No Home, No Money. All That’s Left Is Love

Given the impending evictions worldwide, the number of people experiencing homelessness may well get far worse before it gets better. Looking on the bright side (a bit of a...

Tent Camps: Vancouver City Councillor On Draining Wallpaper Bubble

Vancouver, B.C., one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, might be expected to have a chronic homelessness problem. And it does. Its visible manifestations...

Homeless Tent Camps Unsanitary? Humans Have To Go Somewhere.

Compassionate responses to growing homelessness crises can be frustrating. The responders may be people experiencing homelessness themselves, or activists, or local government. The recipients of the responses may be...

Homelessness & Emerging Techno-Sin: The Techno-Devil Made Me Do It

Dispensation is apparently no longer available in a world where technology is the new religion. In Ontario, Canada very recently, the techno-priesthood was half querulous, half scolding as it lowered...

San Diego Works To Develop A Homeless “Bill of Rights”

Bill of Rights? Well, San Diego's mayor is actually calling this by a far more mundane phrase: policy changes. But reading down the list, many or most of which have...

Australia Human Right to Housing: A Practical Step Forward? Or Lipstick On A Pig?

If to no one else in the world, Australia's struggle with the notion of a Human Right To Housing should be of interest to Americans. Alas, the well-housed authors...

EU Moves Towards Tackling Affordable Housing Crisis For All Its Member States

"Rather than a fundamental right to be guaranteed for all, housing has increasingly been considered a market to make profits through speculative acquisitions and the so-called financialization of the...

WA State Exasperated By City Council Compassion For Homeless Encampment

WA? That would NOT be Washington State (USA), but Western Australia State (nation name redundant). That august body was recently in the news for its tone-deaf response to people...

THE SHIFT: Committing To Housing As Shelter For All, Not Investment Opportunity

Leilani Farha may no longer be the UN's Special Rapporteur on Housing,To check out the Special Rapporteur's mandate, see the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights: Special...

First Voice Advocates Speak Up For Housing

Many people in Canada have experience of being homeless.It's an experience that is gradually being honoured, rather than vilified. Try: Between A Rock And A Hard Place: Remembering People...

A Handbook On Housing First From Finland

Finland is the only country where the number of people who are homeless is going down. The success has drawn a lot of international attention. Y-Foundation, a housing provider,...

Wanted: Canada’s First Official Housing Advocate

Recruitment for Canada's first Housing Advocate is underway. The deadline for applications is December 31, 2020. The Housing Advocate's position was created as part of Canada's commitment to make housing...

New And Deadly Activist Now Calling For Homelessness Action: Winter

Worldwide, prompt government pandemic action has swept people experiencing homelessness into shelter. The effectiveness of these actions has been greeted with both praise, but also surprise. After years of...
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