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What is the Right to Housing?
The right to housing is much more than simply a roof over one's head. Housing requires a habitable space that fulfills the basic needs of humans to personal space, security, and protection from the weather. The right to adequate housing means people must have equal access to a safe, habitable, and affordable home. It also means people must be protected against forced evictions.

What are the minimum requirements?

  • Legal Security of Tenure: this protects people from eviction, harassment, and other threats. The States must provide and enforce security of tenure in consultation with affected groups
  • Availability of Services, Materials, Facilities, and Infrastructure: Housing includes facilities essential for health, security, comfort, and nutrition. For example, there must be safe drinking water, energy for cooking, heating, lighting, sanitation facilities, refuse disposal, storage and emergency services
  • Affordability: The cost of adequate housing should not compromise the satisfaction of other basic needs
  • Habitability: housing must protect its inhabitants from cold, damp, heat, rain, or other health threats and structural hazards. It must also provide adequate space.
  • Accessibility: all people are entitled to adequate housing, and disadvantaged groups in particular must be accorded full and sustainable access to housing, which may mean granting them priority status in housing allocation or land-use planning
  • Location: housing should be located in areas with access to employment options, health-care services, schools, child care, and other social facilities. This applies equally in urban and rural areas. Housing should not be built on or near polluted sites or sources of pollution
  • Cultural Adequacy: activities geared towards development or modernization of housing should ensure that the cultural dimensions of housing are not sacrificed, while simultaneously ensuring modern technical facilities

As with every human right, the right to housing entails the following obligations:

  • Respect ??? the obligation to respect requires governments to refrain from interfering directly or indirectly with the enjoyment of the right to housing
  • Protect ??? the obligation to protect requires governments to prevent third parties, such as corporations, from interfering in any way with the enjoyment of the right to housing
  • Fulfill ??? the obligation to fulfill requires governments to adopt the necessary measures to achieve the full realization of the right to housing