August 2nd 2011 DRAFT: HOUSING AS A HUMAN RIGHT RESOLUTION
Whereas, in 2009 in Dane County, 2,413 individuals in families were turned away from shelter,
92% of those were individuals with families. 94% of turned-away families were rejected due to lack of shelter space or lack of funds to pay for motel vouchers;
Whereas these resource limitations mean families with children can only stay in shelter up to 90 days and have a 180 life-time limit;
Whereas, in 2009, 29% of families and 30% of single women reported “the threat or fear of violence” as the reason they were seeking shelter;
Whereas, in 2008, 776 children attending schools in Madison were homeless;
Whereas homelessness impacts a disproportionate number of people of color in Dane County, with 71% in shelter identifying as non-white and African Americans the largest minority group; 83% of families, 64% of single women, 54% of single men and 48% of unaccompanied youth identified as non-white;
Whereas, in the U.S., 20-40% homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ), while only 3-5% of the overall youth population identifies as LGBTQ; 44% of gay homeless youth are African-American and 26% of gay homeless youth identify are Latino; 62% of transgender youth homeless are African-American and 20% of transgender homeless youth are Latino; and LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to be the victims of sexual crimes while homeless;
Whereas in 2009, 69 persons in the Dane County shelter system were 62 years and older and AARP reports that in the U.S. in 2001, 18 percent of homeowners and 38% of renters over the age of
65 spent more than one half of their monthly income on housing;
Whereas, in the U.S., the National Coalition for the Homeless recorded over a thousand incidents of crimes committed against homeless individuals due to the housed offender’s bias of the
victim’s housing status between 1998-2009 and in 2009 alone, forty-three homeless men and women lost their lives to such violence;
Whereas, in 2007, the Dane County Enhanced Youth Gang Prevention Task Force, listed “accessible and affordable Housing” as one of their prevention strategies and recognized that “stable and affordable housing is foundational to family stability and gang prevention”;
Whereas, in 2009, the Dane County Task Force on Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, reported “ex-offenders returning to the community after prison face great difficulty obtaining stable housing, employment, support, and treatment” which is “instrumental in avoiding re-incarceration”;
Whereas, in 2009, the Dane County Task Force on Poverty’s 2009 report identified “seeking housing” as one of the underlying problems for Dane County citizens in poverty;
Whereas, Madison Gas & Electric reports the rental vacancy rate for multi-family real estate in the Madison area for the 2nd quarter of 2011 is only 3.54%, which is down from 4.72% in 2010 and only half of what it was in 2005, resulting in rental prices increasing by 17.82% from May 2010 to May 2011;
Whereas a Dane County renter making minimum wage would have to work 79 hours per week to afford rent for a 1 bedroom rental unit, 93 hours for a 2 bedroom and 125 for a 3 bedroom rental unit;
Whereas an affordable rent amount for a Dane County renter whose sole source of income is SSI is $227, which $515 less than the fair market rent for a one-bedroom unit;
Whereas an affordable rent amount for a Dane County renter whose sole source of income is W-2 is $202, which is $675 less than the fair market rent for a two-bedroom unit;
Whereas 52% of Dane County renters are unable to afford a 2 bedroom unit at fair market rent;
Whereas we are experiencing a national housing crisis due to a record number of mortgage foreclosures and an extreme shortage of affordable housing. The Madison area is no exception with a record number of foreclosures in 2010 and over 30% of Dane County homes in or near foreclosure in early 2011;
Whereas federal funding for subsidized housing has plummeted in the last thirty years, from
$80 billion in 1978 to $34 billion in 2006;
Whereas the CDA waiting list for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rent assistance program has been closed since April 1, 2003 (when it only briefly opened up pursuant to a lottery system) and public housing waitlist times range from 12 months to over 3 years;
Whereas our efforts to improve housing opportunity and tenant protection at the local level are under attack by our state legislature which seeks to preempt decades of our hard work on housing issues;
Whereas unstable housing causes children to suffer from slowed development, emotional problems,
and underachievement in education;
Whereas the Commission on People with Disabilities has identified increased development of accessible housing as a priority;
Whereas studies have shown that the most important piece of a person getting stabilized from struggles with employment, addiction, mental health issues, and physical health, is by having stable long-term housing as a first step;
Whereas unemployment and poverty are systemic problems, and individuals should not be blamed for the lack of income or stability to maintain housing;
Whereas, in 2006, the Dane County Homeless Services Consortium developed a Community Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness in Dane County;
Whereas the U.S. has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), giving it the force of law, which protects individuals from discrimination based on property and economic status;
Whereas the UN Human Rights Committee has asked our government to take “adequate and adequately implemented” measures to remedy the human rights abuse of having a 12% African-American population, but African-Americans making up 50% of all homeless in the
Whereas the U.S. has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which requires the government to eliminate all racially discriminatory effects of government laws and rules;
Whereas, the City of Madison and Dane County, as a recipients of federal funds for housing and development, has an obligation to affirmatively further fair housing;
Whereas the United States has signed onto the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including….housing…”;
Whereas the human right to housing includes legal security of tenure, availability of services and infrastructure, affordability, habitability, accessibility, location, and cultural adequacy;
Whereas we join the efforts of Washington D.C., Cook County, IL, Minneapolis, New York City and Los Angeles to recognize and progressively realize the human right to housing at the local level.
Therefore be it resolved that housing be recognized as a human right and that all people who desire a place of shelter and stable long-term housing be prioritized to have this basic need met both temporarily and permanently. In doing so, the City of Madison and Dane County recommit to the goals in their comprehensive plans that call for the availability of safe, decent and sanitary and distinctive housing for all residents as well as the objectives and policies that accompany that goal. The City of Madison and Dane County also recommit to the goals and objectives in the Community Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness in Dane County.
Be it further resolved that the City of Madison and Dane County conduct a study to assess the affordable and accessible housing needs in Dane County by community and create a plan with recommendations for strategies to provide those housing units and shelter beds in those communities at appropriate affordability levels by 2031, including ensuring that enough accessible housing is available.
Be it further resolved that the City of Madison and Dane County explore creative uses of the public (ex. TIF, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, federal, state and local government funds) and private dollars to provide a variety of increased affordable housing, accessible housing and shelter beds, as identified in the plan above.
Be it further resolved that the joint City of Madison and Dane County Committee review the issues
and solutions generated by the Peoples Affordable Housing Vision participants and
recommend those policy changes that are feasible to implement and that the final recommendations of that group be used as a platform for change and implementation.
Be it further resolved that the City of Madison and Dane County implement policies to prevent foreclosures, evictions, criminalization of homelessness and to help stabilize people in their housing.
Be it further resolved that the City of Madison and Dane County create plans to affirmatively further fair housing as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Annual Report on Homeless Served in Dane County, City of Madison Community Development Division (2009) <http://www.cityofmadison.com/cdbg/docs/homeless_rpts/2009AnnualHomelessReport.pdf>
Dane County Task Force on Poverty Report to the County Board, Nov. 5, 2009 <http://pdf.countyofdane.com/commissions/Task_Force_on_Poverty_Report.pdf>
Final Report, Dane County Task Force on Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, Sept. 2009
Final Report, Dane County Enhanced Youth Gang Prevention Task Force, Sept. 2007 <http://www.danecountyhumanservices.org/pdf/gang_task_force_report.pdf>
A report on the effects of the “Baby Boomer” generation and how this will influence the social,
economic, community and political developments to come, Dane County Task Force on Aging
Community Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness in Dane County, Dane County Homeless Services
Consortium, April 2006 <http://www.cityofmadison.com/cdbg/docs/community_plan_to_end_homelessness_final.pdf>
City of Madison Comprehensive Plan, 2006 <http://www.cityofmadison.com/planning/ComprehensivePlan/adoptedplan.cfm>
Dane County Comprehensive Plan, 2007 < http://www.daneplan.org/plan.shtml>
Rivedal, K., Property Trax: Average price for Madison apt rentals rose nearly 18 percent year-over-year in May new survey finds, Wisconsin State Journal, June 29, 2011
Out of Reach 2011: Renters Await the Recovery, National Low Income Housing Coalition, June 2011
<http://www.nlihc.org/oor/oor2011/data.cfm?getstate=on&getmsa=on&msa=560&getcounty=on&county=3105&state=WI> (URL for Dane County/Madison FMA Data)
“Simply Unacceptable”: Homelessness and the Human Right to Housing in the United States 2011, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, June 2011.
Ray, N., Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth: An epidemic of homelessness. New York: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and National Coalition of the Homeless, 2006
Hate Crimes against the Homeless: Americans Growing Tide of Violence. National Coalition for the Homeless, August 2010. < http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/hatecrimes/hatecrimes2009.pdf>
Beyond 50 2003: A Report to the Nation on Independent Living and Disability,
American Association of Retired People (AARP), Washington, DC, 2006