Introduction

What does it mean to have a right to housing?
Having a home does not mean simply the right to a roof over one's head; it is the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity.

The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice commented in 1989:

People who are homeless are not just those who have no roof over their heads: people in hostels do have shelter, but they are still homeless people. People who are homeless are those who have no reasonably secure place where they can establish what the average human being would call a home. A rough definition of 'home' is shelter plus security for a period of time. As a matter of justice it is not good enough that people in private rented accommodation merely have a roof over their heads; they need homes, in the sense of having a reasonable measure of security so that they are not vulnerable to being moved on from week to week at the arbitrary will of the landlord.

The right to housing means the right to adequate housing.

Everyone is entitled to a home where they can enjoy privacy and security, in addition to basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity. A house must be habitable and not cause any threat to the health of people living there. It is also important that houses are located close to employment options, schools and hospitals.