3.5 Million Homeless and 18.5 Million Vacant Homes

The National Economic and Social Rights Initiative along with Amnesty International are asking the U.S. to step up its efforts to address the foreclosure crisis, including by giving serious consideration to the growing call for a foreclosure moratorium and other forms of relief for those at risk, and establishing a housing finance system that fulfills human rights obligations.

New government census reports have revealed disturbing information that details the cold, hard numbers of Americans who have been deeply affected by the state of our economy, and bank foreclosure practices:

In the last few days, the U.S. government census figures have revealed that 1 in 2 Americans have fallen into poverty or are struggling to live on low incomes. And we know that the financial hardships faced by our neighbors, colleagues, and others in our communities will be all the more acutely felt over the holiday season.

Along with poverty and low incomes, the foreclosure rate has created its own crisis situation as the number of families removed from their homes has skyrocketed.

Since 2007, banks have foreclosed around eight million homes. It is estimated that another eight to ten million homes will be foreclosed before the financial crisis is over. This approach to resolving one part of the financial crisis means many, many families are living without adequate and secure housing. In addition, approximately 3.5 million people in the U.S. are homeless, many of them veterans. It is worth noting that, at the same time, there are 18.5 million vacant homes in the country.

The stark realities that persist mean that millions of families will be facing the holidays in temporary homes, or homes under threat, and far too many children will be wishing for an end to the uncertainty and distress their family is facing rather than an Xbox or Barbie doll.

Housing is a basic human need and a fundamental human right. Yet every day in the United States, banks are foreclosing on more than 10,000 mortgages and ordering evictions of individuals and families residing in foreclosed homes. The U.S. government’s steps to address the foreclosure crisis to date have been partial at best.

The depth and severity of the foreclosure crisis is a clear illustration of the urgent need for the U.S. government to put in place a system that respects, protects and fulfills human rights, including the right to housing. This includes implementing real protections to ensure that other actors, such as financial institutions, do not undermine or abuse human rights.

There is a link available at the Amnesty International website for anyone who is interested and would like to join the call on the Obama administration and Congress to urgently step up efforts to address the foreclosure crisis, including by seriously considering the growing call for a foreclosure moratorium and other forms of relief, and establishing a housing finance system that fulfills human rights obligations.

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17 Responses to "3.5 Million Homeless and 18.5 Million Vacant Homes"

  1. Zoidberg  January 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    There is a growing awareness for how the present system favors Property Rights over Human Rights, and even Property Rights aren’t the foundation for which we ought to be basing everything on. In a Resource Based Economy (RBE) we have the resources to house, clothe and feed everybody as demonstrated by the empty houses, obesity statistics and charity shops brimming with unwanted items. What you’re seeing here is a miss-allocation, a miss-alignment of resources.

    Reply
  2. Jeff G  August 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Zoidberg, couldnt have said it better. Our government is mis-managing our resourses. It is a shame that anyone could go hungry in one of the richest countries in the world. let alone anywhere in the world. I call for America to WAKE UP! and DO something today!

    Reply
  3. AJeaL  May 4, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    We DO know that #Bankers OWN this enormous supply of needed Housing, right? Chk – MoneyMasters [dot] com, then google: UnitedWorldOfFreeAndClear! hashtag it! get it circulating! Only WE can SAVE Ourselves<3

    Reply
  4. Don Haddock  May 4, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    the Department of Developmental Services in the state of California owns Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa California. They have numerous buildings empty, as well as medical resource,s Have kitchens an extra clothing, laundry facilities Etc.. there is no reason why a partnership between the State and the city of Costa Mesa, which is overrun by the homeless, couldn’t work together to help resolve the issue locally. your organization should work to develop a private public partnership with the city of Costa Mesa and the state of California for access to these buildings for the homeless.

    Reply
  5. Kane  May 4, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I can make the monthly payment on a house but don’t have a down payment. I have excellent credit but no money for down payment

    Reply
    • Steven's Page  August 23, 2013 at 3:14 am

      Then you should not be approved for a mortgage.

  6. Christine Sadler  August 23, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Kane- there is help for down payment. I would call a realtor and they can tell you what you qualify for. Good luck

    Reply
  7. Pingback: 18,600,000 vacant homes in the United States. Enough for every homeless person to have six! | Earth. We are one.

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