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COVID-19 pandemic outlines need for housing for all

COVID-19 pandemic outlines need for housing for all

The coronavirus has shown the importance of adequate housing for the health and wellbeing of the population. The housing affordability challenge became especially acute in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic when Governments throughout the world requested people to “stay home”. According to Ms Leilani Farha, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing: “Housing has become the front-line defence against the coronavirus. Home has rarely been more of a life or death situation”.

Ms. Farha, now Global Director of The Shift, the global movement to secure the human right to housing, was the keynote speaker of the  online workshop “Access and Availability of Land for Housing Provision” organized by UNECE, Housing Europe and UN-Habitat on 20 May. In her address, she underlined the importance of understanding housing as home and as a social good and raised her concern over constantly rising prices of rental housing, especially across the UNECE region and notably in cities.

Ms. Doris Andoni, Chair of the UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management, stressed the need to better understand and measure “housing affordability”, including what leads to decreased access to decent quality, affordable housing, and how to formulate and deliver targeted policy responses. She also reminded that achieving housing affordability contributes greatly to achieving not only SDG 11 but also many other SDGs.

The workshop marked the launch of the joint study “#Housing2030 - Improving Housing Affordability in the UNECE region” of the UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management, Housing Europe Federation and UN-Habitat. The goal of this joint initiative is to improve the capacities of national and local governments to formulate and deliver policies that improve housing affordability in the UNECE region. The study will explore: housing governance and regulation; access to finance and funding; access and availability of land for housing construction; and climate-neutral housing construction and renovation.

For more information, please visit the workshop webpage and listen to the Podcast by Housing Europe: Good land policy involves planning for the wider public.