HOUSING – A HUMAN RIGHT
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and of their family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond their control.”
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County has long been involved in the issues of housing and homelessness in very practical ways. We are deeply grateful to all those who have made the Winter’s Nights Program a successful outreach to so many people seeking temporary shelter and permanent housing. We are grateful that in many sectors of our society the numbers of people victimized by homelessness is decreasing. Nonetheless, homelessness is not a statistical issue. It involves real people. Our response to the issues of homelessness is a response to real people who deserve shelter, security and a fighting chance to live with dignity and peace of mind. We stand with the Interfaith Community as together we affirm the human right to shelter and housing for each and every human person. Together we affirm the following principles and perspectives:
1) Housing is a human right and governments have a responsibility to foster and support the structures by which emergency shelter is provided and permanent housing that is affordable is made possible. In times such as these, when people are being priced out of their housing and displaced away from their communities, the need for more local housing at rates affordable for those of meager means becomes a moral and collective issue.
2) Housing is more than a “roof over someone’s head.” Adequate housing implies safety, security and conditions befitting human dignity and community.
3) Emergency relief from homelessness cannot be the only response to the human needs of those who find themselves in the streets. The reasons for the homelessness of each and every person involved must be identified and addressed in a humane manner.
4) The Interfaith Community must continuously address the issues of homelessness and its threats as the conscience of the greater community.
5) The Interfaith Community must involve all people of good will in addressing the issue of homelessness by supporting emergency and temporary relief as well as advocating for legislation and development to permanently solve the homeless issue in our communities. Homelessness calls for more than charity. It is a matter of justice.
Thank you for all your support and outreach. We are thankful for the work of the Multi-Faith ACTION Coalition, the Trinity Center and our many congregations whose work of advocacy and hands on service restores the dignity of so many. We are blessed to work with you as we continue to walk in the ways of compassion, understanding and solidarity.