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UN rights expert warns homelessness spreading with impunity

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing [official website] Leilani Farha warned Thursday that homelessness is increasing [press release] in every country due to government inaction. Presenting a report [text, PDF] to the UN Human Rights Council, Farha said that homelessness has become a global crisis because of government failure to respond to structural issues and legislation that allows for the displacement of individuals. The report indicates that social stigmas of homeless have prevented displaced people from recovering or having access to resources. The report furthered states that governments have sacrificed human rights for profits resulting in unregulated industries and market forces that have negative effects including making land and property unobtainable:

These systemic inequalities are compounded by direct discrimination against people who are poor, often pushing them to precarious housing conditions, including into informal settlements or on occupied land, and ultimately into homelessness. Many municipalities use planning and zoning laws or regulations to prevent construction of shelters or affordable housing in their communities. Homeless people are often denied opportunities to live in central locations; instead, they are compelled to live in remote, isolated and poorly serviced areas where there are no jobs.
Farha called on governments to recognize that homelessness is a global crisis and change polices to ensure that the epidemic ends by 2030.

Homelessness remains a problem throughout the world. In August the US Department of Justice challenged [JURIST report] an Idaho city ordinance that criminalizes sleeping in public places by the homeless. In October Farha said that governments must commit [JURIST report] themselves to further action to improve housing conditions and urban development. Guest Columnist Azariah Jelks of Valparaiso University Law argued [JURIST op-ed] in December that affordable housing must become a reality because the current affordable housing initiatives are unable to assist every family or individual from being displaced and priced out of their neighborhoods.

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