Housing is a human right and our policy must start with the most vulnerable in our society

Feb 29, 2024 | 42-5, Blog, Governance, Legislature, Statement, Video | 1 comment

I have asked the BC NDP government multiple times if they believe housing is a human right.

First, they suggested access to shelter was a human right, then last Fall the housing minister agreed. In this two-minute statement I outline the actions I believe represent a government that is approaching housing policy from a human rights based approach.



A. Olsen: Canada adopted the national housing strategy in 2019. It recognizes housing as a human right. It commits organizations and governments to reform housing laws, policies and programs from a human rights perspective and to involve communities in meaningful ways.

So what does a commitment to housing as a human right look like? It starts with an urgent focus on the people with the greatest housing need — unhoused people currently camping in parks, shelters and on the streets. It’s a total dedication to protecting the dignity of the person: basic access to washrooms, to showers, to laundry and storage facilities. It’s a commitment to housing options where they’re needed that meet the imperative needs of the most desperate British Columbians.

Next, it’s a commitment to people with insecure housing, who are at risk of becoming unhoused, and offering the relief of housing security, a place that they call home that won’t be taken away at a moment’s notice. It’s immediate steps to remove the anxiety and stress caused by housing insecurity. And then it’s a commitment to housing as a human right that addresses the need of people with inadequate and unaffordable housing, helping people access the homes they need to live good, dignified lives; ensuring people have options — that they can move homes, change jobs, start a family without worrying about side hustles and pouring every cent into ever-increasing rent payments.

Housing as a human right is a provincewide commitment, a commitment to meet people where they are and help them access the homes they need; a commitment to take active steps to provide for all people, starting with the most urgent and desperate need.

When we fail them, we fail all.

1 Comment

  1. Rosemary Baxter

    Hi Adam… we support all the comments you make in this letter and we think of all the other things the government gives money too when this one is so critical. If they could fix this situation ‘everyone’s’ life would be better. But, a question.
    How can the NDP government even toy with the idea of backing the FIFFA games, at an unpredicable and shocking price tag, when we have to look after all the people you mention in your letter FIRST!! We don’t want our tax money going to support those games unless everyone has housing.


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