Every night, nearly 553,000 people sleep on the streets in the United States.
Let’s talk about humanity. In 1946, President Harry Truman nominated Eleanor Roosevelt to be the country’s first U.S. representative to the UN, calling her the new “First Lady of the World.” By December 10, 1948, Eleanor Roosevelt had seen the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
to its completion.
She encouraged us to consider human rights in action where we live and work. In one of her last speeches at the UN, Roosevelt famously probed:
Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works.
How is this relevant to NAHRO members?
You may have recently heard buzz around NAHRO conferences of people discussing whether our country should adopt housing as a right. Just as any other topic of discussion, we tend to take sides. Proponents for the right for housing point to the policies of “access” or the “right to shelter” in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. On the other hand, opponents believe that governments would be legally obligated to provide “free” housing and blow the well-worn dog whistle of the destructive economic impacts of overbroad public handouts that reinforce an atmosphere of rewarding the unemployed and encouraging citizens to live on the “public dole.”