Homelessness, Constitution and Governance
G.J. Vonk & A. Tollenaar (eds.), Homelessness and the law. Constitution, criminal law and human rights, Nijmegen: Wolf Legal Publishers 2014, p. 26-36.
12 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2014
Date Written: March 3, 2014
Homelessness is almost by definition a local problem, occurring in local communities, neighbourhoods or cities. It is therefore the local government that is the first to respond to the problems that accompany homelessness, including for example safety issues, maintaining public order and health care for homeless people. To solve these problems, especially when it comes to providing care, local governments use the civil society organisations such as churches, the Salvation Army and other NGOs, which are also locally based.
This local response takes place within a legal framework that is often organised at another (higher) level. Indeed, the rights and entitlements of people living on the streets are generally regulated in national legislation with due observance of the obligations developed within the human rights framework.
This gives rise to an interesting problem. The rules and regulations that affect the homeless are formulated at a governmental level other than that at which the problems related to homelessness tend to be resolved in practice. This in turn gives rise to the risk that legislation does not truly reflect the reality faced by local governments.
In this paper two questions will be addressed. What is the constitutional infrastructure to combat homelessness (what are the variations and what are the main problems)? And second: how does this constitutional infrastructure actually function?
Keywords: constitutional law, homelessness, governance
JEL Classification: K11, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation