New Report Card Assesses U.S. Housing Rights
June 02, 2011
As students across the country receive their final grades for the semester, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty has released a report card grading the United States on its response to homelessness and its compliance with the human right to housing. "Simply Unacceptable" : Homelessness and the Human Right to Housing in the U.S. issues failing grades in more than one category.
According to international standards, the human right to housing consists of seven elements: security of tenure; availability of services, materials, and infrastructure; affordability; accessibility; habitability; location; and cultural adequacy. This report gives the U.S. letter grades on each of them. It also offers common sense solutions the U.S. can adopt to better meet the housing needs of homeless and poor people.
The report calls for the continuation and increased funding for a successful homelessness prevention program, funding for federally subsidized housing, making laws protecting tenants of foreclosed properties from eviction permanent, and the creation of a federal living wage.
Polls show that three-quarters of Americans believe that housing is a basic human right, and the right to housing is explicitly recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international documents signed by the United States. But despite its obligations, the U.S. has yet to take the necessary steps to actualize that right.
The Law Center will discuss its findings, and strategies to address them, at its National Forum on the Human Right to Housing, June 7-8 at the Thurgood Marshall Center in Washington, D.C. The Forum will bring together advocates, government officials, and homeless and formerly homeless people from across the country to discuss how to make the human right to housing a reality.