A UN expert on Wednesday issued a report [UN report] criticizing the “hyper-financialized” housing market. Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, addressed the issue to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. She said, “[h]ousing has lost its social function and is seen instead as a vehicle for wealth and asset growth. It has become a financial commodity, robbed of its connection to community, dignity and the idea of home.” The report details how housing has come to represent almost half of all global assets and is currently more than twice the global GDP. It also points to the widespread deregulation of markets as a major factor in the current housing crisis. She went on the say that States should look at housing as a human right as opposed to a commodity:
Under the Sustainable Development Goals, States are required to ensure adequate housing for all by 2030. If they are serious about that commitment they will have to implement rights-based housing strategies and ensure integration of human rights standards and principles within housing markets and financial institutions.
Homelessness continues to be an issue that faced by many domestic and international cities. Last March a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] was filed against the city of Los Angeles for endangering the homeless [JURIST report]. Also last March the UN reported that homelessness will spread [JURIST report] globally due to general government inaction. In August 2015 the US government challenged [JURIST report] an Idaho ordinance that criminalized sleeping in public. The Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] released a condemnation [press release] of the law, claiming it acted as a criminalization of homeless status in violation of these citizens’ Eighth Amendment rights. JURIST guest columnist Azariah Jelks of Valparaiso University Law argued [JURIST op-ed] in December 2015 that affordable housing must become a reality, due to the mass increase in housing cost, forcing many people out into the street.