Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and of their family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care (…)”. Despite this, on this 71st anniversary of the signature of this milestone document, we can but deplore that this text remains a meaningless document for too many people.
In those days running up to Christmas where temperatures are dropping down, we cannot ignore all those who will spend the holidays rough sleeping or in a place they cannot call home. Far from the usual clichés, homelessness reaches all areas of our society, for its causes are so diverse. The high pressure rents, inappropriate social welfare and a lack of affordable housing are but some of the combined factors that our current government fails to address.
Besides also weighting on the physical and mental health of those immediately affected by the lack of decent accommodation, a housing crisis affects society on a much broader spectrum. Be it the mother who cannot leave an unhappy marriage or an abusive relationship because she will not be able to afford to put a roof over her children’s head. Be it these young persons who know they will be on the street if they ever come out as LGBTQI+ to their families, and therefore cannot afford merely being themselves. Be it those persons living with disabilities for whom there is no adapted alternative to a life with their parents, even though like anyone else they long for autonomy. An infringement on the right of anyone to housing and a general lack of fit, proper and affordable accommodation has a still much broader and deeper effect that any of the dreadful increasing figures we see constantly on the news. This is not acceptable in a modern world.
On the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Labour Youth wants once again to put the light on this reality. Labour Youth supports and advocates for inserting a right to housing in the Irish Constitution, as a reminder to everyone that housing is not a luxury. A constitutional right to ensure our politics take effective and immediate action to tackle the crisis.