7 April 2016


“Homelessness is not just one of the most extreme forms of physical deprivation. It also defines a group that is subject to extreme forms of discrimination, stigma and violence,” said Leilani Farha, UN expert on the right to adequate housing.  “For homeless people it’s double jeopardy: laws and policies create homelessness and then penalise homeless people for being homeless.”

In presenting her latest report at the recent Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Farha explained that being homeless does not only mean not having a roof above one’s head, or temporarily living with friends and family or in a shelter; it also implies being part of a group that is excluded from society, and barred from accessing and enjoying their rights to housing, health and even, in some cases, life.

The UN expert explained that government policies that are inconsistent with human rights were the structural causes of homelessness. To respond strategically to homelessness, Governments should eliminate the practice of forced evictions; and ensure that legal remedies are afforded to people who have become homeless because their rights were violated.

Governments should also combat inequality: by ensuring social protection for vulnerable populations; regulating rapid speculative urbanisation which reduces the availability of affordable housing; and placing a special focus on women, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, who are forced into homelessness because of factors such as domestic violence, unequal access to property and land, and unregulated private actors.

Farha called for a global campaign to eliminate homelessness by the deadline of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which commits to ensuring access to adequate housing for all.

Homelessness is not just a problem that affects less less developed countries but is a growing problem that affects affluent countries as well:-
Click here for information about homelessness in Australia.
Click here for information about homelessness in Ireland
Click here for information about homelessness in the United Kingdom.
Click here for information about homelessness in the United States.

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