UN Habitat Policy brief: Covid-19 in an Urban World

The remarkable growth of cities in recent decades has intensified a number of humanity’s
most pressing challenges. It has also presented
many of our greatest opportunities to protect people, prosperity and planet. COVID-19
has laid bare – and indeed heightened – both
these challenges and these opportunities.

Innovative short-term responses to inadequate
and unaffordable housing, overcrowding, and
homelessness could be a starting point for
long-overdue policy shifts and structural solutions. In the short term, people experiencing
homelessness need access to temporary shelter
for physical distancing, self-quarantine, self-isolation and care. Governments at all levels need
to give clear guidance prohibiting or postponing
evictions from any principal residence or land
for all residents, regardless of migrations status
or formality of dwelling. To prevent people losing their place of residence, governments could
consider creating emergency funds, including
cash transfers, and working with the banking
and finance sector to suspend mortgage repayments, as well as rent support measures.

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