UN rights expert: bold action needed to end homelessness

UN rights expert: bold action needed to end homelessness

[JURIST] Governments must commit themselves to further action to globally improve housing conditions and urban development, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing Leilani Farha [official profile] said [press release] Thursday. Farha made the statement as she was discussing her latest report [text, PDF] on the implementation of a New Urban Agenda and while launching a year-long campaign centered around human rights in housing. Farha stated:

On its current path, urbanization is simply unsustainable. … Major housing issues confronting cities such as the wild growth of informal settlements, social exclusion and increasing homelessness will only be solved if the right to adequate housing is properly understood and incorporated into all aspects of urban development.

Farha’s statements follow several weeks after states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) [official website], which have replaced the Millennium Development Goals. The SDGs will be in place for the next 15 years and seek to end poverty by 2030.

Homelessness remains a problem throughout the world. In August the US Department of Justice challenged [JURIST report] the constitutionality of a city ordinance that criminalizes sleeping in public places by the homeless. In January the UN welcomed a decision by the Netherlands to give aid to municipalities that provide emergency shelter [JURIST report] to homeless migrants. Also in January Amnesty International announced [JURIST report] that thousands remain homeless after the earthquake in Haiti from 2010, further stating that the influx of aid failed to lead to long-term solutions. Last November homes [JURIST report] in Palestine and Israel were demolished to punish those accused of crimes, adding to a homeless population in an already military-run state.