The 'Right to Housing' for Homeless People

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    FEANTSA has a longstanding commitment to ‘a rights-based’ approach to tackling homelessness, and this commitment is shared by many working in the homelessness field. Rights-based approaches are intuitively appealing, promising radical solutions to complex issues of housing need and social exclusion. But what precisely do we mean by rights-based approaches,
    and do they deliver the things we expect them to in practice? This chapter
    considers the relevance of the centuries-old debate about the existence or
    otherwise of the ‘natural rights’ of human beings, before moving on to consider
    the applicability of universal ‘human rights’ in the housing and homelessness
    field. Within the national realm, ‘programmatic’ citizenship rights, as well as
    positive legal rights that are ‘enforceable’ by individual citizens in domestic
    courts, are critically scrutinised with respect to their efficacy in tackling homelessness. The chapter concludes that, while the notion of rights as ‘absolute’
    can sometimes tend to close down debate, it is crucial to maintain a critical
    perspective on rights discourses within the homelessness field on both philosophical and pragmatic grounds
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHomelessness Research in Europe
    EditorsEoin O'Sullivan, Volker Busch-Geertsema, Deborah Quilgars, Nicholas Pleace
    Place of PublicationBrussels
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Citizenship
    • Deontolgy
    • Homelessness
    • Enforceable rights
    • Legal positivism
    • Human rights
    • Legal rights
    • Natural law
    • Natural rights
    • Social rights
    • Rights to housing
    • Utilitarianism


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