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A Human Rights-Based Approach to Housing

The City of Toronto is developing its new HousingTO Plan for the 2020-2030. Right To Housing Toronto has made a submission to the City of Toronto on the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan. Here is an excerpt:

In elaborating on the human right to adequate housing, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights explains:

[T]he right to housing should not be interpreted in a narrow or restrictive sense which equates it with, for example, the shelter provided by merely having a roof over one’s head or views shelter exclusively as a commodity. Rather it should be seen as the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity.

The Committee identifies seven necessary components of adequate housing:

  1. Affordability: The cost of housing must not interfere with households’ access to other basic needs such as food.
  2. Security of tenure: Residents must have legal rights and be protected from arbitrary eviction.
  3. Accessibility: People of all abilities, and members of disadvantaged groups, must have access to housing that accommodates their needs.
  4. Habitability: Housing must be in good repair, provide a safe, secure, and healthy environment in which to thrive, and be of an appropriate size for the household.
  5. Location: Housing must be situated in an appropriate location, with access to employment, education, and services.
  6. Availability of services, materials, facilities & infrastructure: Housing must be equipped with necessary infrastructure such as safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and affordable heating.
  7. Cultural adequacy: Housing must respect and provide for the expression of cultural identity.

Read the full submission here.

The Right2HousingTO Campaign is a group of individuals and organizational supporters that have come together to advocate for a rights-based approach to housing in Toronto. As part of this larger group, the Right2HousingTO Campaign includes ACORN Canada, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO), Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA), Emily Paradis (Independent Researcher), Federation of Metro Tenants’ Association (FMTA), Joy Connelly (Housing Consultant and Advocate), and Maytree.

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