16 days of activism against gender based violence

A housing system that serves us all

In September 2023 we hosted an online forum  ‘A housing system that serves us all – the human right to housing’, where we discussed the right to housing, what it means, and the obligation of all levels of government to uphold this right. We heard from three passionate leaders from organisations working with marginalised groups in the community, who spoke about the dire consequences that result from the violation of the right to housing in Australia.

Assoc. Prof. Jessie Hohmann PhD explains the right to housing. She speaks about the content and obligations of the right, including its seven elements. At its core, the right to housing means that each person is entitled to a place to live in peace, dignity and security. Jessie explains that all governments in Australia are obligated to uphold, protect and respect the right.

Yumi Lee, CEO of the Older Women’s Network NSW presents the latest troubling data about older women and the challenges they face in securing safe, appropriate and affordable housing.

Sunila Kotwal, EO of the Immigrant Women’s SpeakOut Association explains the unique challenges and difficulties faced by migrant and refugee women who experience domestic and family violence and  homelessness.

Assoc. Prof. Mary-Ann O’Donovan PhD presents some disturbing findings regarding the lack of suitable housing and support services for people with an intellectual disability and the negative impacts this has on their lives. Sub-standard and inappropriate accommodation, a lack of social housing, an expensive rental market and lack of understanding and awareness of needs and persistent poverty are some of the issues faced by people with intellectual disability.

Next steps – we must all hold government to account for upholding, protecting and fulfilling the right to housing. Jessie reminds us that the right to housing isn’t just for lawyers, it’s for everyone. All of us are responsible for ensuring that everyone has a place to live in peace, dignity and security.

Guide for Advocacy on the Right to Housing

Dr Jessie Hohmann developed a brief handbook The Human Right to Housing: A Guide for Civil Society to assist any organisation or individual to include the human right to housing in submissions, letters, proposals or any feedback opportunities around housing and homelessness.

The federal government is now accepting submissions for the development of the National housing and Homelessness Plan. We recommend you include the right to housing and all its considerations when writing your submission.

The guide can be downloaded here: The Human Right to Housing: A Guide for Civil Society