Wednesday, May 7, 2014
In today's entry, co-editor Risa E. Kaufman reports on a timely new collection of articles on the human right to housing. International attention to U.S. homelessness has increased at the same time that domestic activists are also framing lack of adequate housing as a human rights issue. This new collection builds on -- and contributes to -- this momentum.
Risa E. Kaufman writes:
The most recent issue of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Law Review offers an important resource for lawyers and other advocates interested in efforts to advance the right to housing in the United States. The journal has made this special issue available for free on the website of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
The articles in the special issue add to the growing momentum for human rights-based responses to the housing crisis in the United States and examine some of the legal strategies that advocates are engaging to promote the human right to housing. The articles include an examination of how lawyers can draw on international and foreign law to urge U.S. courts to expand available remedies in litigation challenging the criminalization of homelessness; a discussion of the implications of advocacy efforts to link the right to counsel in civil cases with a housing rights strategy; an exploration of recent constitutional and statutory jurisprudence from the Constitutional Court of South Africa regarding the right to housing in South Africa; and a human rights analysis of unequal development and investment in cities’ urban cores.
The issue also contains the transcript of a conversation between Columbia Law School Professor Olatunde Johnson and Evan Wolfson, the executive director of the Campaign for the Freedom to Marry, suggesting lessons that U.S. housing advocates can draw from the effort to secure the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The special right to housing issue is an outgrowth of a 2013 national symposium entitled “Bringing Economic & Social Rights Home: The Right to Adequate Housing in the U.S.,” co-sponsored by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP), the Northeastern University School of Law Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE), and the Columbia Law School Human Rights Law Review. The day-long event, sponsored by Skadden Arps, brought together attorneys, advocates, and federal, state, and local government representatives to explore cutting edge and creative strategies to establish a right to housing in the United States. Together, the articles in the special issue offer a unique insight to the range of work being done in the United States to advance the right to housing, and to promote economic and social rights within the United States more generally.