I welcome the PPR initiative ‘homeless not voiceless’ and the homeless action charter.  It reminds all of us that homelessness is about real people who are no different from the rest of us.

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) provides at Article 11 for the ‘right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family including food, clothing and housing and to the continuous improvement in living conditions’.  In a general comment the ICESCR committee has said that the right to adequate housing should be given a wide meaning going beyond the shelter provided by having a roof over one’s head.  Instead it should be seen as the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity.  The Committee has also made the point that measures to protect the right to adequate housing should not be restricted even during an economic recession and that particular consideration needs to be given to people living in unfavourable conditions.

It is great to see people at the sharpest end of housing issues, speaking up for themselves and I support the aims of the charter and the practical steps being put forward to improve the lives of people who find themselves homeless.

Good luck with the campaign.

Les Allamby

Chief Commissioner

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

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