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31st August 2012
The Geographies of Homelessness: Homeless Experiences and Homeless Policy in Different Spaces



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News

Hungary's "Petty Offence Act," adopted in November 2011 and in force since April 2012, gave the penal system the power to imprison individuals who were habitually residing in public spaces. According to the law, repeat offenders, or people who make a habit of habitually residing in a public space - in other words, the homeless - face increasingly severe fines, up to 500€, which can be converted into a maximum of 75 days in prison.

Human rights organisations, as well as groups in Hungary working with the homeless, such as A Város Mindenkié (the City is for All), began to mobilize following the law's adoption. On November 12th, Hungary's Constitutional Court struck down the portion of the Petty Offence law criminalising the habitual presence of rough sleepers in public spaces. According to the Court, homelessness is a social problem, the penal system should not address it through repression.

http://www.budapesttimes.hu/2012/11/16/anti-homeless-laws-sent-packing/

For more information visit The City is For All website or contact: balint.misetics@gmail.com

Background

The right to housing is one of the most basic human right ensuring human dignity.  It has been codified in a range of international and regional human rights instruments and many national constitutions and laws embody provisions of the right to housing. However, their concrete implementation remains unsatisfactory in many countries.

Mission statement

Housing Rights Watch is a European network of interdisciplinary groups of associations, lawyers and academics from various European countries who are committed to the promotion, protection and fulfillment of the right to housing to all. It seeks the realization of the right to every person to live in dignity and to have secure, adequate and affordable place to live. The network was set up in Cardiff in November 2008 in order to facilitate exchange and mutual learning among housing rights experts and advocates.

Objectives

  • Share information on legislative and judicial initiatives (case-law database, judicial analysis, monitoring of normative outcomes);
  • Support judicial proceedings at local, national and international level ;
  • Monitor and intervene on the factual and systemic denial of  rights observed at various levels ; 
  • Monitor the development of the housing situation from a rights-based perspective ;
  • Support change in public policies at national and European level with the aim of better implementing the right to housing;
  • Support the setting up of national networks on the right to housing across Europe.

Annual Conference

Contemporary Housing Issues in a Changing Europe - Galway, Ireland, 20 & 21 April 2012: EN  FR

Tools and Tips

NEW!  Leaflet on using the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights to access housing rights: English  francais  Greek  Italiano  Espagnol

A toolkit for understanding Housing Rights in Europe (October 2011) - The Importance of Litigation in Housing Issues (PPT)

Correspondents

Housing Rights Watch currently counts 15 correspondents from 13 countries.

A leaflet explaining Housing Rights Watch is available here.

Newsletters

Housing Rights Watch produces a newsletter with the aim of sharing information on legislative and judiciary initiatives, national and international provisions, examples of  relevant case law.

NEW! Issue October 2012 English French
 
Issue 3 February 2012: English  French

Issue 2 September 2010

Statements

Hungary: FEANTSA opposes draft law that restricts the rights of homeless people

Prague: FEANTSA opposes action plan to place homeless people in a camp

Activities

Housing Rights Watch Discussion Group launched

The aim of the discussion group is to facilitate exchange among housing rights experts. For more information, please read the group guidelines.

The discussion group is open to all members of Housing Rights Watch and to all housing rights experts and advocates. If you would like to sign up to housing-rights-watch@googlegroups.com please contact housingrightswatch@gmail.com

Housing Rights Watch meetings

Housing Rights Watch correspondents meet during the annual Housing Rights Watch Conference.  We met in Barcelona in 2010 and The Hague in 2011.  We are always interested in expanding our network to include experts in this field.  Please contact us if you are interested in more information.

Past Conferences

Migration and Housing Rights, The Hague, the Netherlands, 19 May 2011

Housing Rights: from Theory to Practice, Barcelona, Spain 6 May 2010

Contact

If you would like to be part of Housing Rights Watch or would like to sign up to the newsletter, publish an article, include information in it or just have a question or comment on Housing Rights Watch, please contact: samara.jones@feantsa.org