UN to look at U.S. housing conditions

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BILL RADKE: A special envoy from the UN Commission on Human Rights is touring the United States this week and next to review housing conditions here. This is the first time a UN fact-finding mission has come to this country. From Washington, John Dimsdale tells us what the UN is looking for.

JOHN DIMSDALE: As the UN’s advocate for adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik is visiting seven U.S. cities — looking at foreclosure rates and the availability of low-income shelters. Usually UN housing rights advocates are in countries like Romania or Cambodia. But Rolnik says the housing crisis in the U.S. bears closer scrutiny.

RAQUEL ROLNIK: Because of the specific link between the financial crisis and the issue of housing and especially housing for low-income people, a great interest raised to the situation of the United States.

The UN Commission for Human Rights did not send her to investigate specific violations of housing policies.

ROLNIK: But indeed I have received complaints on the demolition of public housing and the situation of the people that became homeless or live in a precarious situation.

She’ll deliver a report on U.S. housing conditions in the spring — before her next investigation in either Laos or Indonesia.

In Washington I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.


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