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Virtual Meeting of the UCLG Community of Practice on Housing: Protecting the Right to Housing in the context of COVID-19 and #BeyondTheOutbreak

As a direct follow-up of our previous Live Learning Experience on Housing (1 April), and in order to deepen and exchange on possible measures to be implemented by local and regional governments to protect the right to housing in these times of crisis, the UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights and the city of Barcelona are co-organising, next Friday 22 May at 3 pm (CEST) an online meeting of the UCLG Community of Practice on Housing. Among others, this meeting will welcome representatives from the cities of Barcelona, Paris and Greater London. In order to be able to access this meeting you’ll need to register by using the following link.


 

On how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting housing conditions

Despite of the progress made on certain dimensions, the velocity and ferocity with which COVID-19 has hit our societies has revealed and amplified housing inequalities. On April 1st, mayors from around the world, representatives from civil society and international organizations gathered in the Live Learning Experience on housing "Ensuring everyone can safely #StayAtHome", co-organised by UCLG and UN-Habitat, to stress how the COVID-19 crisis entails a point of no return - highlighting how now, more than ever, ensuring populations’ access to adequate housing is a necessary precondition for the fulfillment of many other human rights.

The session provided a platform for local and regional governments to exchange the challenges faced and responses they are giving to the crisis in its different stages, including ensuring temporary accommodations for the most vulnerable groups (homeless people, victims of domestic violence, migrants…) but raising also awareness on the situation of the residents who are no longer being able to pay their rents or mortgages due to job loss or poverty. Putting an end to evictions, everywhere and regardless of the reason, was stressed as a critical condition to address the epidemic, as well as a key political message shared by all participants.

« The lack of national and state funding, market deregulation, growing power of global corporations, and increasing competition for scarce real estate often become a burden on our neighborhoods, causing serious distortions in their social fabric, and putting the goal of ensuring equitable, inclusive, and just cities at risk »

Cities for Adequate Housing Declaration

A variety of subsidy schemes are being set up to help households endure the first economic effects of the crisis. However, even if these measures have prevented a housing crisis in the short-term, much more needs to be done to protect households from the upcoming crisis and guarantee the right to housing for all. The challenges lying ahead are as complex as they are critical for the future of our societies. Stepping up to face such challenges requires establishing robust partnerships that allow us to collectively learn from each other.

A #CitiesforHousing meeting to assess emerging responses and strategies on housing #BeyondTheOutbreak

Building up on the important steps taken in this direction, the UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights and the City of Barcelona convene a new meeting of the UCLG’s Community of Practice on Housing - the working group created alongside the Cities for Adequate Housing Declaration - in the aftermath of the pandemic.

[ Register to the meeting ]

Coming together at this critical moment, participants will be addressing questions determinant to the future of housing in our cities and territories. How to support the generation of creative and innovative policy responses to ensure the fulfillment of all populations’ right to housing ? How to leverage the dialogue between national and local governments and reinforce the collaboration with civil society organizations? How to bring together more local governments from around the world to work together, share knowledge and find solutions? And equally important: how to build on our collective knowledge to trigger action on the ground?

Interpretation English, French and Spanish available.


 

Agenda

  • Welcome by Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG
  • Presentation - “Human rights-based toolkit for housing strategies” by Leilani Farah, former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing
  • Panel of local and regional governments

Moderator: Amanda Fléty, Coordinator of the Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights of UCLG

Ian Brossat, Deputy Mayor for Housing at Paris City Council (France)

Tom Copley, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development at the Greater London Authority (UK)

Lucía Martín, Housing Councilor at Barcelona City Council (Spain)

Robert Beaudry, Counselor for Housing, Real Estate Strategy and Public Parks of Montreal (Canada)

  • Participation by other local and regional governments

Xolani Sotashe, Counselor of Cape Town

Isabel Lozano, Housing Counselor of Valencia

José Luis Alfaro, Housing Counselor of Rivas

Nelson Fernandez, International Relations Director of Montevideo

  • Closing remarks by Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG and Patrick Braouezec, co-president of the Committee on Social inclusion, Participatory democracy and Human rights