Housing as a Human Right?

Girl in Poverty by Rainier Ridao on Unsplash

The US government doesn’t think of housing as a right; but the UN does, along with other governments and NGOs.

We at PEER Homes subscribe to Kate Raworth’s concept of “Doughnut Economics“–meeting the needs of all within the means of the planet. We believe that each of us is born with the same rights–yes, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”–but also to so much more: shelter, nutrition, water, health, education, income and work, peace and justice, political voice, social justice, gender equality… and it’s within our means to provide for these rights for everyone, no matter the color of their skin or the place of their birth.

The Constitution doesn’t specifically list housing among those inalienable rights “endowed by our Creator,” but neither did it list suffrage for women or people of color. So, it’s not a right in the legal sense. Nonetheless, we do feel principled in the argument that housing is a basic human right. When we think of rights, we don’t think of laws. Constitutions and laws can be enacted to protect rights, but the rights themselves existed in each of us innately.

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