(This is an extract. For the full text click here)
The right to adequate housing is outlined in Article 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and supported in Catholic Social Teaching, notably in Pope John XIII's enumeration of fundamental human rights in his 1963 Encyclical Letter Pacem in Terris(11). It is central to the protection of human dignity as so many other rights depend on having a secure home, such as health, education and work. Homelessness and housing insecurity have a major impact on wellbeing, affecting health, relationships, access to education and employment and a person's ability to participate in society and contribute to the community
Pushing people to the margins of our society
Some groups of people experience particular obstacles in accessing housing, which can lead to feelings of isolation, alienation and a perception of rejection by society. The tragic loss of life experienced in the Travelling community in October this year highlighted the particular vulnerability of many Traveller families resulting from the failure to honour commitments to address the cultural needs of that community in relation to housing. The outpouring of concern in the wake of this tragedy needs to be followed by urgent action to ensure the safety of families.