Scottish Housing Day calls for human rights to be at the heart of housing policy
Housing must be a human right, according to a new report published to mark Scottish Housing Day.
The paper, published jointly by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Scotland, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), Shelter Scotland, the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO), the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), and the Tenant Participatory Advisory Service Scotland (TPAS) calls for the incorporation of human rights legislation in Scotland so everyone has access to a safe, affordable home.
The paper notes that legislating for human rights in domestic legislation could provide citizens with a means to challenge councils, landlords and the Government if they violate a minimum set of rights and argues that such incorporation would mean that service providers better reflect human rights in their policy deliberations.
Specifically, the paper calls for improving the consistency in what people experience across different types of housing tenures, whether that be social rent, private rent or home ownership and notes that that while improvements in availability, affordability and accessibility are needed across all sectors, many housing problems can be linked to the shortage of affordable homes.
To discuss the findings of the report and the case for housing as a human right, there will be a discussion at the Scottish Parliament featuring Callum Chomczuk from CIH Scotland, Heather Ford from West Cromwell, Citadel and Persevere Courts Residents Association (WPCRA) and the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Communities, Aileen Campbell MSP.
The day will end with an evening event at the Wheatley Academy in Glasgow featuring a panel discussion with Chief Executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Sally Thomas, Convenor of the Scottish Youth Parliament's Social Security Committee Ryan Kelly MSYP, and co-chair of the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership, Professor Alan Miller.
Other activities on the day include a drop in event at Barrhead Housing Association, a coffee morning for East Lothian Council tenants, and a drive by Dundee Federation of Tenants Associations to encourage tenants to arrange access for their new fire safety systems and gas servicing.
Commenting on the day, CIH Scotland’s national director and chair of the Scottish Housing Day working group Callum Chomczuk said:
“Housing is a human right, so I am pleased that we are using the celebrations as part of Scottish Housing Day to make the case for greater consistency in what people experience and to highlight the need to ensure that we are building more of the right homes in the right places.
“Legislation will be only the first step and educating the public and judiciary about the value of this approach will take time. However, we know from experience in Scotland and in other countries how a rights-based approach to housing can improve the experiences of tenants, customers and homeowners.”
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell MSP said:
“Housing is embedded in so much that we want to achieve, including eradicating poverty and homelessness, tackling the effects of climate change and promoting inclusive growth. Now is the time for us to come together to shape a resilient housing system which addresses these challenges. In July, we published a draft vision for our homes and communities in 2040 and the supporting principles, including the right to an adequate home. Over the coming months, we will gather a wide range of views on how to make this a reality.
“Scottish Housing Day is a great way for people to engage with that discussion and help us shape our collective vision for Housing to 2040 and beyond.”
Scottish Housing Day will take place on Wednesday September 18th 2019.
The day is organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Scotland, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), Homes for Scotland, Shelter Scotland, the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO), the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), the Tenant Participatory Advisory Service Scotland (TPAS), Regional Network of Registered Tenants Organisations and the Scottish Government.
Its purpose is to raise public awareness of the latest developments in housing and to give people the resources that they need to make informed decisions about their housing options.
You can find out more about Scottish Housing Day here, or you can follow developments on Twitter @scothousingday by using the hashtag #ScottishHousingDay
Notes to Editors
1. The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards. Our goal is simple – to provide housing professionals with the advice, support and knowledge they need to be brilliant. CIH is a registered charity and not-for-profit organisation. This means that the money we make is put back into the organisation and funds the activities we carry out to support the housing sector. We have a diverse membership of people who work in both the public and private sectors, in 20 countries on five continents across the world. Further information is available at: www.cih.org
2. For further information, please contact Callum Chomczuk, CIH Scotland National Director on 0131 224 7759 or email firstname.lastname@example.org