“One of the primary needs of all human beings is housing. … shelter – essential for survival and human dignity, a place to live, a base for development of children and the household – home. Housing provides a psychological space for nurture, privacy, personal development, family life and a sense of personal space. The modern concept of “home” builds on all these elements of adequate and appropriate housing which forms the core of housing rights”. (Housing and Human Rights (MS no 699) Dr P. Kenna, National University of Ireland, Galway
In 1916, the founders of the Republic promised to cherish all of the children equally, despite this, there is no specific right to housing in the Irish Constitution. There are, however, a number of international conventions and charters that do define rights to housing such as those by the United Nations, Council for Europe, and the European Union.
The belief that “the market” will provide suitable and affordable housing for all has failed. The current housing crisis in Ireland is a stark reminder of that and a major failure in Government Policy. The conditions and funding for a functioning housing market that addresses the needs of all sectors of society must be created. Particular attention must be paid to the needs of the most vulnerable in our society.
Security of tenure is critical for those who depend on the private rental market. Legal protection against forced eviction and other threats must be enforced. Housing must be affordable: high rents in Cork city mean that women accessing our Support and Advocacy services are regularly forced to prioritise rent over food.
The Global Strategy for Shelter in the Year 2000 stated “Adequate shelter means …adequate privacy, adequate space, adequate security, adequate lighting and ventilation, adequate basic infrastructure and adequate location with regard to work and basic facilities – all at a reasonable cost.”
A home is much more than four walls and a roof. It is a place to live in security, peace and dignity, and at Good Shepherd Cork we believe it should be a right for every human being.