Affordable housing for all: key to building a resilient post-COVID-19 world
As the intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs and flows, this year’s theme for World Habitat Day – “Housing For All – A Better Urban Future” couldn’t have been more befitting. With almost 90% of all reported cases of COVID-19 in urban areas and the close link between deprivation and infection rates, there is an urgent need to critically look at the fault lines in our cities and communities.
As noted by the former UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, access to adequate housing is now, more than even, a matter of life and death. Housing is one of the key factors that influences health outcomes which determine the level of a person’s vulnerability to being impacted severely by COVID-19. It is also almost impossible to protect oneself and others from the virus in the absence of a stable and secure place to live. Around 1.8 billion people across the world live in situations of homelessness or in housing that is “grossly inadequate”. For those living in inadequate housing, the risk of being infected is not significantly reduced as many have no choice but to live or work in close proximity to others, share already crowded spaces, including water and sanitation facilities.