Committee Reports

Advancing the Right to Housing in the United States Using International Law as a Foundation


Outlining the international right to adequate housing, this report by the International Human Rights Committee brings into focus a handful of the current challenges the United States faces with respect to housing, including, housing discrimination arising out of economic incentives and the subprime mortgage crisis, and the effects of increasingly frequent natural disasters. By looking at the impact of some of the consequences of the patchwork approach to housing rights in the United States, the value of a codified, comprehensive, and enforceable right to adequate housing becomes clear. The Committee recommends that government actors draw on the comprehensive approach to the right to housing under international human rights law in order to alleviate some of the issues that plague access to adequate housing in the United States today. The international law approach to human rights not only provides a structure of concrete and realistic standards and goals, but it also draws on the international community for its legitimacy, rather than on the fluctuations of political preferences at the national or subnational level. The international community is progressing toward the legal and practical realization of economic, social, and cultural rights, and the United States is poised now to benefit from that process if it is willing to apply the standards and structures of the international human rights regime.