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U.S. Receives Failing Grades on Human Right to Housing Report Card

by National Homelessness Law Center
Limited Progress During Pandemic Offset By Inactions Since
reportcard2023.pdf_600_.jpg
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On October 5th, 2023, the National Homelessness Law Center (Law Center), in partnership with the University of Miami Law School Human Rights Clinic, issued the Human Right to Housing Report Card 2023. The report card condemns the U.S. government’s ongoing failure to stem the tide of homelessness by neglecting its responsibility to ensure adequate, affordable housing is available to all. The U.S. receives a failing grade in “affordability” and still has much room for improvement in other areas. Numerous areas of hope are also cited, drawn from federal interventions to protect vulnerable homeowners, renters, and unhoused persons during the pandemic.

In summary, the U.S.’s 2022 Human Right to Housing Report Card is not good:

Legal Security of Tenure: C-
Accessibility: B-
Affordability: F
Availability of Services, Materials & Infrastructure: D
Location: B-
Habitability: C-
Cultural Adequacy: B-

“Housing is a human right, recognized around the globe, but here in America, tenants know that “the rent is too damn high,” and the growing encampments we see on our streets are a result of that,” said Eric Tars, Senior Policy Director of the Law Center. “Our country’s pandemic response—slower in coming than we would have wished, but ultimately postponing an eviction avalanche—showed us that when we treat housing as the human right it is, we can make a real difference. But today, with those pandemic measures gone, the avalanche is hitting, our country is failing to meet its obligation to its people to ensure this right, and this Report Card is a step in measuring, and remedying, that failure.”

“The right to housing a basic human right recognized around the world and essential for a life with dignity. This report assesses current gaps in realizing this right in the U.S. and sets out a roadmap for progress,” said Tamar Ezer, Acting Director of the Human Rights Clinic, University of Miami School of Law. “The hope is to thus support vibrant national, state, and local movements for the right to housing, holding the U.S. accountable for each of seven dimensions of this right.”

The Law Center published human right to housing report cards from 2012-16, assigning letter grades to measuring federal progress toward meeting each of the seven internationally recognized elements of the human right to housing: legal security of tenure; accessibility; affordability; availability of services, materials and infrastructure; location; habitability; and cultural adequacy. This report card considers the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the two election cycles that have occurred since the issuance of our last report card in 2016 up through the end of 2022. For each element, we share policy recommendations at the federal, state, and local levels.

###

The National Homelessness Law Center’s vision is to cultivate a society where every person can live with dignity and enjoy their basic human rights, including the right to affordable, quality, and safe housing, and its mission is to fearlessly advance federal, state and local policies to prevent and end homelessness while fiercely defending the rights of all unhoused persons.

The University of Miami School of Law’s Human Rights Clinic works for the promotion of social and economic justice globally and in the United States. It engages in litigation and advocacy at the local, national, regional, and international levels, with a particular focus on gender and racial justice, immigrant and Indigenous women’s rights and the rights to housing, food, and health.


https://homelesslaw.org/us-fails-right-to-housing-report-card/
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