Key Concepts and Features of the Legal System
* The right to shelter
Article 25 in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948 states that ‘Everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of himself…. Including… shelter…’ - Right to shelter is a social right considered to be ‘second generation rights’ and is also contained in the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) 1966. - Australia is a signatory to both of the above acts however, in Australia there is NO ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO SHELTER.
Political statements on Housing Policy
* Governments and political parties in Australia are committed to ensuring that all people in Australia have adequate housing. * Housing identified as a basic necessity
* Both liberal and Labor parties believe in assisting people on housing in the same ways: * Management of the economy so that housing is affordable * Provision of rental assistance to low income earners * Provision of financial assistance to first home buyers. * Labor party more committed to public housing as seen in their 2000 national platform. Liberal party focuses on private ownership. * Despite political commitments there are many issues in relation to the ADEQUATE PROVISION OF and ACCESS TO adequate housing in Australia e.g. poor and disadvantaged and homelessness are both major social issues.
Housing for the Poor and Disadvantaged
- Homelessness is significant in Australia. Australian Bureau of Statistics Census in 2001 found that 99 990 people are homeless however, the total is likely to be greater. * Australian government considers provision of housing an individual responsibility BUT they do assist the disadvantaged. * COMMONWEALTH STATE HOUSING AGREEMENT
* The Federal Government provides funding to states for public housing. (after WW11, 1945) * NOTE: Funding reduced by liberal Gov. to encourage private rental. However, this has just created more stress for lower income earners * This also set up the CRISIS ACCOMODATION PROGRAM (CAP) 1996/7. People in dire need of shelter. E.g. escape from sexual assault/ abuse. $40 million per year. * NSW HOUSING DEPARTMENT
* Provides and manages public housing.
* SUPPORTED ACCOMODATION ASSISTANCE PRIGRAM (SAAP)
* Provides funding to agencies, which gives services and assistance to the homeless. * RENT ASSISTANCE (RA)
* Provided for low-income earners in the private housing market. * Funding increased in recent years.
* EMERGENCY RELIEF PROGRAM
* Provides funds to organisations to assist families or individuals in short term financial crisis. * Youth homelessness program encourages family reconciliation and education. * National Homelessness Strategy 2000
* The Australian Government spends huge amounts of money on providing access to shelter. Some programs help give access to shelter whilst others address the causes of problems e.g. drugs, alcohol. Whilst the government provides funding IT RELIES HEAVILY ON THE COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS TO IMPLEMENT PRIGRAMS.
* Legal methods of Securing Shelter
* Buying private housing. (70% of all households in Australia live in owner-occupied homes, 1996). * Private Rental (19% in 1996)
* Public rental (6% in 1996)
* Accommodation in:
* An aged care facility
* Caravan Park
* Boarding House
* Group Homes
* Squatting (not legal). Squatting occurs when a person deliberately takes unauthorised possession of a vacant dwelling. If living on the property for 12 years peacefully, possession of the land is given in NSW. Also called Adverse Possession.
* Concepts of Real Property
* Real Property: Relates to land and the fixtures attached to land such as a building...