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What makes housing a human right?

Answer

Safe and reliable shelter is necessary to live a healthy life that’s within your control. The right to housing has been codified by many international standards as a part of our right to live, signed onto by the US but not inherently protected by federal law.

Shelter is part of the bedrock of human needs; without it or the others like it (food and water), you can’t move on to other needs like safety, employment, health, or love. These basic needs contribute to our stability as individuals and families. Aristotle said the family is the nucleus of society and that the “family is the association established by nature for the supply of men's everyday wants.” In other words, the stability of the individual or the single-family unit is intrinsically linked to the stability of our society at large.

Individual rights are never just individual, their presence or lack thereof affects us all, Black or white, rich or poor. Once people's basic needs are met, they create more bonds in their community, become less inclined to engage in criminal activity, and contribute more to their families and a healthy society as a whole. By ensuring everyone has access to housing, we decrease crime rates, address public health needs, and contribute to a happier, more integrated social structure, one in which all our families and neighbors can truly prosper and fully participate in the democratic process.