Report calls housing a human right – – Report calls housing a human right
July 09, 2008, Noor Javed, Staff Reporter

Focusing on housing as a human right, the Ontario Human Rights Commission released an exhaustive report yesterday to address and deal with issues of discrimination faced by tenants in rental housing across the province.

“Adequate housing is a critical element of an individual’s quality of life,” said Commission chief Barbara Hall. “Without housing, health care, education, food, clothing, and employment are irrelevant.”

The report entitled Right at Home was written after a year of public meetings and submissions from hundreds of individuals and organizations.

Throughout the consultative process, which spanned four cities – Ottawa, Sudbury, Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo – the commission heard how tenants were affected by discriminatory attitudes on the basis of race, disability and income.

Tenants cited issues such as landlords posting “adults only” rental ads to discourage families, seeking sexual favours from low-income women in lieu of rent and trying to discourage applicants who are visible minorities. Also dealt with at length is the link between poverty, housing and homelessness.

The report puts forward concerns from tenants that social assistance rates and minimum wages have not kept up with increasing housing costs.

The report sets out 37 recommendations for various levels of government and decision-makers, and urges the provincial government to pass a law “to establish the right to adequate housing as a universal human right.”

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