Single mothers disproportionately affected by lack of adequate housing

05.03.20

UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - MMM contributed to the discussion on the right to adequate housing by highlighting the economic hardships of single mothers, the difficulties and discriminations they face in accessing adequate housing and their vulnerability to homelessness.

According to UN habitat, 1.6 billion people worldwide live in inadequate housing conditions globally, with about 15 million forcefully evicted every year, and those numbers keep rising. This alarming situation was highlighted by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing as she presented her Guidelines for the Implementation of the Right to Adequate Housing to the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council.

The following is MMM’s contribution to the discussion that followed. 

MMM Oral Statement at the Interactive Dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing

MMM welcomes the guidelines. We agree that the right to housing is central to women’s rights to substantive equality. However, we believe gender equality and women’s economic empowerment can also greatly contribute to its realization.

We draw attention to the economic hardships faced by single mothers, which, combined with other intersectional discriminations [in accessing housing], notably race and migratory status, puts them at risk of homelessness – a situation which can quickly spiral down with dire consequences for their children.

According to recent statistics1,

  • [in 2017-2018] One in every 55 single-parent families in the UK became homeless, most of them were single mothers.
  • In the US, [in 2017] they accounted for 21% of the homeless population.
  • In France [in 2018], over 2’000 mothers, mostly migrants, were homeless after giving birth and leaving the hospital.

[These numbers are likely to be underestimated given the hidden homelessness that prevails among women with children.]

Limited income and intersectional discrimination make it almost impossible to access adequate and affordable housing – especially since child or housing allowances [that single mothers may receive] are usually not considered as “income”.

Even when they have enough personal income, single mothers are perceived as risky tenants and often face discrimination. The same applies when they seek access to credit.

We, therefore, call upon governments to urgently address the root causes of women’s vulnerability to poverty and homelessness, including domestic violence and gender inequality.

We call for measures that support [the right to adequate housing for] single mothers and their children, including [anti-discrimination legislation,] a social protection floor that guarantees a minimum income, and the development of public infrastructure and services that reduces and redistributes unpaid care work.

Valerie Bichelmeier, MMM Vice-President, delivering the Statement to the Human Rights Council.

[1] See sources and references in the written Statement that Make Mothers Matter submitted to the 58th UN Commission on Social Development

See also the outcome of the side-event that Make Mothers Matter organized on the margins of CSocD58

 

 

Most read articles

MMM welcomes first ever Human Rights Council resolution on Care

11.10.23

UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - Entitled ‘Centrality of care and support from a human rights perspective’, this landmark resolution was presented by the governments of Argentina, Iceland, Mexico

Lire plus

Call to action: make 2024 the EU year for Women’s Mental Health

09.10.23

In June this year, the European Union (EU) Commission announced a new high-priority initiative to address the mental health of all Europeans.

Lire plus

Investing in mothers key for inter-generational change

13.02.24

UN New York, CSocD62 - MMM's intervention to the Commission on Social Development reiterates that investing in mothers through recognition, education, protection and adequate support is a smart invest

Lire plus
See all the articlesof the category

Latest News from MMM and its Network

Economic systems failing mothers’ rights

16.07.24

UN Geneva - As the 56th session of the Human Rights Council wraps up, we take a look back at our contributions to different discussions. Our oral statements all denounced the inadequacy and failure of our curre

Read more

Time Poverty and the Motherhood Penalty
Unveiling Economic and Social Injustices

09.07.24

Mothers play an essential role in families by ensuring their loved ones are nourished, educated, and healthy, but their unpaid care work often leads to economic and social injustices, known as the motherhood pe

Read more

Mothers, unpaid care work and global crises – connecting the dots

02.07.24

UN New York / HLPF - Register now to join us online at this year’s High Level Political Forum side-event.

Read more

Widowed mothers: MMM calls for addressing the distinct challenges they face

20.06.24

UN Geneva, Human Rights Council - MMM was invited to contribute to a side-event organised by Widows Rights International to discuss the unique challenges faced by widows who are mothers, while continuing to sho

Read more

MMM teams push for strengthening the right to education

19.06.24

UN Geneva – A resolution aimed at strengthening the right to education in international legal instruments will be negotiated during the 56th session of the Human Rights Council, which began on 18 June. This r

Read more

A new social contract cannot ignore care

16.06.24

UN Geneva, 112th International Labour Conference (ILC) – MMM contributed to the discussion on the International Labour Organisation Director General’s report calling for a new social contract.

Read more