Message from Marie Linder, IUT President and the Members of the Executive Committee:
Today our thoughts are with all those people affected by the Corona Virus outbreak.
People, governments and organisations are suggesting different aid packages – A number of these are quoted in the news section below. Please continue to share best practices or indeed bad examples in relation to housing and tenants, so that we can learn from each other. We at IUT support the UN Special Rapporteur’s press release and statement which is included in the news flow.
The COVID´-19 pandemic is causing massive human and economic harm. Many workers, especially contractors and casual workers, will suffer from lost incomes. Many will fall into rent arrears and be at risk of eviction. People facing eviction are less able to take actions required to minimise transmission of COVID-19, particularly where they become homeless, and will become more vulnerable to illness.
An eviction at this time puts great pressure on families and communities in overcrowded homes, crisis accommodation and people sleeping rough.
IUT calls on governments and local authorities to provide adequate housing which may require the implementation of extraordinary measures as appropriate in a state of emergency, including using vacant and abandoned units and available short-term rentals. Housing departments and councils need to work with shared accommodation providers, including boarding and rooming house operators, to ensure residents are not evicted into more severe homelessness and that their accommodation is healthy.
With respect to those facing job loss and economic hardship, States must: provide direct financial assistance, set up rental payment funds, and provide resources to answer and process the deluge of applications for financial assistance expected, enact a moratorium on evictions due to arrears; introduce rental stabilisation or reduction measures; and, at least for the duration of the pandemic, suspend utility disconnections and ensure internet infrastructure is available and stable. Governments should also ensure that housebuilders are able to respond to the continuing need for affordable housing.
Fundamentally, what we have to continue fighting for – is each person’s human right to a safe home.
Marie Linder, IUT President
Members of the IUT Executive Committee