When the Covid-19 pandemic first began, governments around the world issued “stay-at-home” orders to help slow the spread of the virus. For those living with inadequate, precarious, or a complete lack of housing, these orders were impossible to follow. As the pandemic continued to evolve, changes to business operations designed to stop the spread left many without work and without a way to pay the rent. The number of people living in homelessness and inadequate housing has risen throughout the pandemic, demonstrating a failure on the part of government to provide solutions to a systemic problem. Government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and long-term recovery plans need to incorporate the right to housing and particularly consider the impact on precariously housed persons who cannot just ‘stay home’. Housing has rarely been more of a life and death situation than it is now.
The Shift has put together a number of resources on the steps governments should take to protect all residents from the housing-related dangers posed by Covid-19.
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Through this project, The Shift, in partnership with Open Society Justice Initiative and other human rights defenders, are urging governments around the world to use the basic legal provisions outlined in the model legislation to prompt and guide the development of domestic laws to ensure access to housing for all.