When the fundamental requirements of safe and adequate housing are not met, households already suffering from health inequities may become even more exposed. This was the timely wisdom shared by UN-Habitat in their recent report, “Cities and Pandemics: Towards a More Just, Green and Healthy Future.” The report reviews how a holistic approach to recovery can support positive change in the form and function of cities, poverty and inequality, rebuilding the economy, and clarifying legislation and governance as the pandemic wanes.
With impact data collected from over 190 member states and practical stories of national response programs, the shock of this crisis has never been clearer than it is today. The report confirms that, regardless of country wealth, there continues to be inequality and an unmet need for safe and adequate housing. The existing housing crisis has been exacerbated by the pandemic and short-term responses must now evolve into long-term strategies.
Economic, social, and demographic factors are key determinants for the housing standards enjoyed by some and denied to other population groups. Additionally, low-income earners and marginalized populations are least likely to have access to adequate and affordable housing. To ensure a meaningful and measurable impact on housing access requires a high level of coordination and a targeted approach. Housing challenges highlighted in the report focus on overcrowding, tenure security and evictions, and homelessness.