Wednesday, March 3, 2010

UN Releases Report on Housing Violations in U.S.

Thirteenth session
Agenda item 3

The United Nations has released the final report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing's U.S. mission, making both broad and specific findings and recommendations about housing rights violations in the United States.

The Special Rapporteur, Raquel Rolnik, visited six cities in the U.S. from October 23-November 8, 2009 in her mission. The Law Center co-coordinated Ms. Rolnik's visit.

After an extremely participatory visit, many of the concerns homeless and low-income communities across the country expressed to her are included in the report.

The Rapporteur's report recommends, among other things:

* Increasing resources for public and affordable housing;
* The Protecting Tenants At Foreclosure Act should be extended beyond its 2012 sunset;
* Vacant properties should be made available to housing organizations for the provision of affordable housing;
* Constructive alternatives to the criminalization of homelessness should be developed, and where adequate shelter is not available, homeless persons should be allowed to shelter themselves in public areas;
*The HUD definition of homelessness should be expanded to include those living doubled up with others due to economic hardship.
* Congress should pass H.Res. 582 and devote increased resources to the Family Unification Voucher Program.

The Rapporteur will present her report to the UN Human Rights Council on March 5th in Geneva, Switzerland.

Next steps for advocates should include 1) publicizing the report, 2) demanding an action plan from legislators and HUD for implementing the report's recommendations, and 3) using the report recommendations and findings in local advocacy. For more information, contact National Law Center Homelessness and Poverty Human Rights Program Director Eric Tars.

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