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Homeless have no rights, film shows

03 January 2014


Sleeping rough:  Len, one of the homeless in the film UK Common Rights

Sleeping rough:  Len, one of the homeless in the film UK Common Rights

THE UK Common Rights Project has launched a national campaign to promote the right of homeless people to shelter, food, drinking water, and sanitation.

The campaign, led by the charity Housing Justice, states that hundreds of homeless people living on the streets in the UK exist in conditions that contravene the UN Declaration of Universal Rights. It calls on the UK to honour Article 25 of the Declaration, which states that: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing. . ."

At a launch held at the House of Commons on 18 December, the campaign held the première of a film, UK Common Rights, which depicts the experiences of rough sleepers as they struggle each day to eat, and find washing and toilet facilities, and a bed for the night.

The project is setting up two working groups in London, in Southwark and Islington, to devise innovative and practical solutions. The chief executive of Housing Justice, Alison Gelder, said: "This campaign is an opportunity to give a voice to the people whose rights are being denied, and to make a difference to their lives."

The film, stills, and other campaign resources are available at www.commonrights.org.uk

The launch coincided with publication of research by the homelessness charity Anchor House, which calculated that, nationally, one in every 105 UK households is at risk of repossession or eviction.

Researchers looked at court orders and evictions, and identified areas where the risk was greatest. They found that Newham, in east London, where Anchor House is based, is the worst in the country: one in 35 households had a court order made against it in 2013.

The director of Anchor House, Keith Fernett, said: "Benefits cuts are resulting in a society wherethe poorest are excluded, andmore people than ever are on the brink of losing their home. We . . . have got some serious thinking to do if we're going to solve this."

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