Mercy Law Resource Centre is calling for the protection of the right to housing in the Constitution. The right to housing would help those who are facing homelessness now and would be a fundamental and enduring safeguard against the recurrence of this gravely unacceptable crisis.
A right to housing in the Constitution would not mean the right to a key to a home for all. A Constitutional right to housing would however put in place a basic floor of protection. It would recognise that a home is central to the dignity and possibility of every person. It would mean that the courts could look at the decision as to whether it was ‘proportionate’ by reference to the right. It would mean that Government and State policies and actions would have to respect the right.
The right to housing is recognised in Europe in the Constitutions of Belgium, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden and in the legislation of Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom. Around the world, the right to housing is included in eighty-one Constitutions. The right to adequate housing is provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the European Social Charter. The right to housing would put in place a basic protection in recognition that a home is central to the dignity of each and every person and a foundation of every person’s life.Mercy Law Resource Centre’s report on the Right to Housing in Ireland assesses the protection of the right to housing in Irish law and outlines the impact that a Constitutional right to housing would have.