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Rawls-Long-F/W Commented [1]: +jefftwitch38@gmail.


I think this is pretty well set up.

Observation 1: Default to frameworks clarifying the moral obligation of I think some work on organization so it's easy to flow
government, due both to the evaluative mechanism ought in the resolution which is will help judges.
used to imply morality, and the general direction of the resolution, questioning what the
You should also make sure you understand the Rawls
role of the United States government should be. evidence. I don't think you need to extend all of it to
Obligations are distinct from moral duties in that they are not universal but win, but know which pieces are most important.
must consider the parties involved in the moral transaction.
Contentions 1 and 2 are good, but they're long. You
Steinberger: 1 might consider how to shorten them. I think adding a
Political Obligations and Derivative Duties contention 3 that would serve as good defense to
Peter J. Steinberger The Journal of Politics, Vol. 64, No. 2 (May, 2002), pp. 449-465 Published by: Cambridge University Press on utilitarian negs would be valuable as well
behalf of the Southern Political Science Association Article Stable URL:
obligation is, by definition, something owed by a specific
Formally, Simmons again following Hart, Rawls, and others says that a moral
And send me your NEG if I didn't comment on it. I can't
find one from you unless it's Nozick
person to a specific person, whereas moral duties "are owed by all persons to all others." Thus, anyone
has a moral duty to save anyone else from drowning, but my obligation to repay the money you loaned me is limited to me Commented [2]: Nozick is my neg. If I need to go
more traditional with him for region I can.
and you. Another way of saying this is that moral obligations are analogous to legal rights in person am rights that are
held against a particular person while moral duties are more similar to rights in rem, which are held against all other people (Simmons 1979, 15).

I value morality. Metaethics is a branch of ethics that determines what qualifies as a

warrant for an ethical claim. Only metaethical principles can resolve ethical claims because
metaethics justifies how we choose between ethical theories. I advocate a metaethical
framework of practical reason. If the neg standard does not derive from practical
reason, they must justify an alternative metaethical framework. Otherwise, default to my
standard regardless of any answers they make, since a standard without metaethical justification
is literally unwarranted.
Korsgaard2 defines practical reason:
The human mind is self-conscious. Some philosophers have supposed that this means that our minds are internally
luminous, that their contents are completely accessible to us, that we always can be certain what we are thinking and feeling and
wanting, and so that introspection yields certain knowledge of the self. Like Kant, and many philosophers nowadays, I do not think
that this is true. Our knowledge of our own mental states and activities is no more certain than anything else. But the human mind is
self-conscious in the sense that it is essentially reflective. Im not talking about being thoughtful, which of course is an
individual property, but about the structure of our minds that makes thoughtfulness possible. A lower animals attention is fixed on
the world. Its perceptions are its beliefs and its desires are its will. It is engaged in conscious activities, but it is not conscious of
them. That is, they are not the objects of its attention. But we human animals turn our attention on to our perceptions and desires
themselves, and we are conscious of them. That is why we can think about them. And this sets us a problem no other
animal has. It is the
problem of the normative. For our capacity to turn our attention onto our
own mental activities is also a capacity to distance ourselves from them and to call
them into question. I perceive, and I find myself with a powerful impulse to believe. But I back up and bring that impulse
into view and then I have a certain distance. Now the impulse doesnt dominate me and now I have a problem. Shall I believe? Is this
perception really a reason to believe? I desire and I find myself with a powerful impulse to act. But I back up and bring that impulse
into view and then I have a certain distance. Now the impulse doesnt dominate me and now I have a problem. Shall I act? Is this
desire really a reason to act? The reflective mind cannot settle for perception and desire, not just as such. It needs a
reason. Otherwise, at least as long as it reflects, it cannot commit itself or go
forward. If the problem springs from reflection then the solution must do so as well. If the problem is that our perceptions and

Korsgaard, Christine M. The Sources of Normativity. 1992. The Tanner Lectures. Pg. 78-79.

We need reasons because our
desires might not withstand reflective scrutiny, then the solution is that they might.
impulses must be able to withstand reflective scrutiny. We have reasons if they do.
The normative word reason refers to a kind of reflective success. If good and right are also taken to be intrinsically normative
words then they too must refer to reflective success. And they do. Think of what they mean when we use them as exclamations:
Good! Right! There they mean: Im satisfied, Im happy, Im committed, youve convinced me, lets go. They mean the work of
reflection is done. Reason then means reflective success. So if I decide that my desire is
a reason to act, I must decide that on reflection I endorse that desire.

Only practical reason binds all agents to morality. Other frameworks, like intuitionism,
exempt people from morality on the basis of ignorance. Intuitionists believe that intuitive moral
facts merely exist and are observable from experience. But just as you would not hold me
accountable if I didnt tell you happy birthday because I did not know when your birthday was, it
is impossible to hold agents accountable if they never learned certain moral facts in their
upbringing in the first place. Under practical reason, however, morality is not optional because
rationality is closed under reflection. When one asks the question why should I be rational?
they have already submitted themselves to reflection.

In order to make unbiased, rational decisions, moral agents must

place themselves behind a veil of ignorance. Freeman3 writes:
The remedy for such biased judgments is to redefine the initial situation. Rather than a state
of nature Rawls 1situates the parties [behind the veil of ignorance] to his social contract so that they do
not have access to knowledge that can distort their judgments and result in unfair
principles. Rawls's original position is an initial situation wherein the parties are without information that enables them to
tailor principles of justice favorable to their personal circumstances. Rawls says, Among the essential features of this situation is
that no one knows his place in society, his class position or social status, nor does any one know his fortune in the distribution of
natural assets and abilities, his intelligence, strength and the like. I shall even assume that the parties do not know their conceptions
of the good or their special psychological propensities. The principles of justice are chosen behind a veil of ignorance (TJ, 12/11).
This veil of ignorance deprives the parties of all knowledge of particular facts about themselves, about one another, and even about
their society and its history. The parties are not however completely ignorant of facts. They know all kinds of general facts about
persons and societies, including knowledge of the relatively uncontroversial laws and generalizations derivable from economics,
psychology, political science, and biology and other natural sciences. They know then about the general tendencies of human
behavior and psychological development, about biological evolution, and about how economic markets work, including neo-classical
price theory of supply and demand. As discussed below, they also know about the circumstances of justicemoderate scarcity and
limited altruismas well as the desirability of the primary social goods that are needed to live a good life and to develop their
moral powers. What they lack however is knowledge of any particular facts about their own lives or other persons' lives, as well as
knowledge of any historical facts about their society and its population, level of wealth and resources, etc.. Rawls thinks that since
the parties are required to come to an agreement on objective principles that supply universal standards of justice applying across all
societies, knowledge of particular and historical facts about any person or society is morally irrelevant and potentially prejudicial to
their decision. Another reason for Rawls's thick [The] veil of ignorance is [thus] that it is designed to be a
represents persons purely in their capacity as free and
position of equality (TJ, 12/11) that
equal moral persons. The parties in the original position do not know any
particular facts about themselves or society; they all have the same general information made available to
them. They are then situated equally in a very strong way, symmetrically (JF 18$) and purely as free and equal moral persons.
They know only characteristics and interests of themselves in their capacity as
moral personstheir interests in developing the moral powers of justice and rationality, their
need for the primary social goods, and so on. The moral powers are the basis of equality, the features of
human beings in virtue of which they are to be treated in accordance with the principles of justice (TJ, 504/441). Knowledge of the
moral powers and their essential role in social cooperation, along with knowledge of other general facts, is all that is morally
relevant, Rawls believes, to a decision on principles of justice that are to reflect people's status as free and equal moral persons. A
thick veil of ignorance thus represents the equality of persons purely as moral
persons, and not in any other contingent capacity or social role. In this regard the veil
interprets the Kantian idea of equality as equal respect for moral persons (cf. CP 255)

Freeman, Samuel. "Original Position." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

From a veil of ignorance, moral agents would rationally choose to be
risk-averse and thus adopt a principle that would guarantee basic
goods for themselves.
Freeman4 2 continues:
It is often claimed that Rawls's parties are risk-averse; otherwise they would never follow the maximin rule but would take a
chance on riskier but potentially more rewarding outcomes provided by the principle of utility. Thus, John Harsanyi contends that it
is more rational under conditions of complete uncertainty always to choose according to the principle of insufficient reason and
assume an equal probability of occupying any position in society. When the equiprobability assumption is made, the parties in the
original position would choose the principle of average utility instead of the principles of justice (see Harsanyi 1975). Rawls denies

that the parties have a psychological disposition to risk-aversion. He argues however that it is rational to choose as if
one were risk averse under the highly exceptional circumstances of the original
position. His point is that, while there is nothing rational about a fixed disposition to risk aversion, it is nonetheless rational in
some circumstances to choose conservatively to protect certain fundamental interests against loss or compromise. It does not make
one a risk averse person, but rather it is rational to purchase auto liability, health, home, and life insurance against accident or

calamity. The original position is such a situation writ large. Even if one knew in the original position that
the citizen one represents enjoys risk-taking, this would still not be a reason to
gamble with his or her rights, opportunities, and starting position in society; for if
she were born into a traditional, repressive, or fundamentalist society, she might well
have little opportunity for risk-taking, gambling, entrepreneurship, and the like. It is
rational then even for the risk-taker to choose conservatively in the original
position and guarantee her future opportunities to take risks. (And assuming that the parties
are trustees, then it would be not simply irrational but a dereliction of duty to choose otherwise.) Harsanyi and other orthodox
Bayesians contend that maximin is an irrational decision rule, and provide ample examples. But simply because maximin is under
many circumstances irrational does not mean that it is never rational. No doubt maximin is an irrational strategy under most
circumstances of choice uncertainty, particularly under circumstances where we have future opportunities to recoup potential losses

and choose again. But these are not the circumstances of [In] the original position; once the rules of
justice are decided they apply in perpetuity, and there is no opportunity to
renegotiate or escape the situation. One who relies on the equiprobability assumption in choosing principles of
justice in the original position is being foolishly reckless given the gravity of choice at stake. It is not being risk-averse, but rather
entirely rational to be unwilling to gamble with the basic liberties, opportunities and
resources needed to pursue one's most cherished ends and commitments for the sake of
gaining the marginally greater income and wealth that may be available in a society governed
entirely by the principle of utility.

Since the only way to guarantee basic goods for themselves absent knowledge of their social
standing in society would be to adopt social institutions that would protect societys least well-
off, my criterion is ordering society on a principle that benefits the


least well-off.

[C1] My first contention is that a right to housing is key to prevent and curb
homelessness and protect physical security.
There is rampant homelessness in the US and its caused by a lack of
affordable housing.
International Womens Human Rights Clinic (CUNY Law). A Gendered Perspective On The Right To Housing In The United
States. CUNY. 2009. HW.

The primary cause of homelessness is an increasing lack of affordable housing caused by

rising rents paired with the destruction of low-income housing through gentrification, the purposeful demolition of public housing without replacement and cuts in public benefits and federal housing programs.75

Currently, the gap between the number of affordable housing units available and the
number of those who need them is 4.5 million units, the largest gap on record.76 Between 2005 and 2008, New York City lost 55,000 or 7.5% of
housing units with rents below $800 per month.77 In Washington D.C., rent for a two-bedroom apartment increased by fifty- eight percent between 2000 and 2008.78All of these factors have led to high rent
burdens, overcrowding, and substandard housing. According to the National Coalition for Homelessness, the average United States household must earn at least $17.84/hour to afford an adequate 2-bedroom

There are no
rental unit and maintain basic, subsistence needs. For a 1-bedroom unit, a worker must earn $14.97/hour.79 Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour.80

counties in the United States where a full-time, minimum-wage worker earns an

income sufficient to afford a two-bedroom unit and only four counties where the same worker can earn enough to rent a one-bedroom
unit.81Compounding this situation for women is the fact that on average women workers earn eighty cents for every dollar earned by a man.82 Also, women tend to bear the primary care- taking responsibility of
children and elderly relatives. Of single-parent families generally, women comprise seventy-one percent of head of households. Among the homeless population, women make up eighty-five percent of single-
parent head of households.83 Therefore, in order for a woman to afford a two-bedroom apartment for her family she must work an average of fourteen more hours per week than a single man must work to afford
the average one-bedroom apartment. Combining womens lower wages with the fact that a majority of single-parent families are headed by women, it is easy to see the additional vulnerability to homelessness
faced by women. Furthermore, additional work hours may be particularly troublesome for a woman to obtain since sixty-one percent of women, and seventy-five percent of homeless women work in sales or
service sectors where the jobs are mostly part-time.84 Although single men continue to represent the largest segment of the homeless in the United States, families are one of the fastest growing segments of the
homeless.85 A survey conducted by the National Coalition for the Homeless found that seventy-one percent of cities saw an increase in the number of families with children seeking emergency assistance.86

Federal funding for benefits programs are insufficient and declining. Federal
support for low-income housing fell forty-nine percent between 1980 and 2003.87 The
budget provided by Congress to USHUD decreased by $52.1 billion between 1976 and 2004.88 TANF benefits and Food Stamps, additional resources relied upon by low-income families, are so low that combined
they do not raise a family above the federal poverty level in any state.89 The average income of homeless families is $8000 per year.90 In 2006, fifteen percent of families and thirty-two percent of single- parent
families lived below the federal poverty line.91 In Washington D.C., the city with the highest poverty rate in the United States, nearly one of five women live below the federal poverty line.92 Clearly, the United
States has failed to fulfill the right to adequate housing due to policies (in particular dis-investment, inequitable investment and demolition of housing for the poor, all discussed below) that have allowed and
enabled this acute shortage of affordable housing. The Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights defined this right to housing in General Comment 4 and found that: the right to housing is not merely a
roof over ones head; this right also includes the ability to live somewhere in security, peace, and dignity.93 Thus, this right is more aptly described as the right to adequate housing which includes affordability or
the ability to manage housing costs without having to compromise or forego other basic necessities.94 The United States government is failing to meet this standard for the 4.5 million Americans unable to attain
affordable housing. Although there is some evidence that cities are acting to combat the rising number of homeless families in the United States,95 the United States government still has not enacted legislation nor
put in place a national plan to ending homelessness.96 International law requires states to take all appropriate measures to meet its obligations.97 Not only has the United States government failed to do this,
destruction of low-income housing and cuts to federal housing programs are retrogressive measures also contrary to international human rights standards.98

Housing rights are key to ensure physical well-being and security

Rachel Bratt et al. writes:
Rachel G. Bratt, Michael E. Stone and Chester Hartman (professor and chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy
and Planning at Tufts University and a Fellow at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies; professor of community planning
and public policy at University of Massachusetts, Boston; director of research at the Poverty & Race Re- search Action Council in
Washington, DCan organization for which he served as executive di- rector and president from its founding in 1990 through
2003). Why a Right to Housing Is Needed and Makes Sense: Editors Introduction. Temple University Press. 2006. HW.
THE PHYSICAL IMPORTANCE OF DECENT HOUSING Where one livesparticularly if one is poor, and/or a person of colorplays a critical role in fixing a persons place in society and in the local community.
Living in substandard hous- ing in a bad neighborhood may limit peoples ability to secure an adequate education for their children, reduce chances of finding a decent job and deprive them of decent public
services and community facilities. The quality of ones hous- ing may also be an outward sign, as well as part of a persons self-image, that in some profound and important ways one has not succeeded. Housing
has always been viewed as one of the necessities of lifea critical element of the food, clothing and shelter triumvirate. Stories of homeless people freezing to death each winter provide stark reminders that

housing is a fun-damental need. In earlier eras, events such as the great Chicago fire of 1871 and the cholera epidemics that swept densely populated urban
areas in the early and mid-19th Century dra-matically made the link between poor hous- ing conditions and health and safety (Friedman 1968). The public response was enactment of tenement house laws, first in
New York City and followed by other large cities. The explicit goal was to regulate the health, safety and morals of tenants (Wood 1934) as well as to protect the nonpoor who were living in nearby neighbor-
hoods. Although housing conditions have improved dramatically since the 19th Century, poor qual-ity is still a problem facing millions of Ameri-cans. Fires due to inadequate wiring or faulty furnaces are still
commonplace, and many households are plagued by infestations of ver-min and inadequate heating systems. In recent years, there have been compelling demonstra-tions of the links between health and housing.

poorly maintained housing is closely

For example, a project undertaken under the auspices of the Boston Medical Center under- scored that

linked to childhood injuries and lead poisoning, and that damp, moldy interiors are
associated with elevated incidences of respiratory disease and asthma (Sandel et al. 1999, 2526; see also Scientific American 1999, 1920; Bernstein 1999;
Pe r ez-Pen a 2003). Over the past 30 years, we have learned a great deal about the impact of lead on childrens health. Lead poisoning has been called the most common and devastating environmental disease of young
children (U.S. General Accounting Office 1993, 2). The Centers for Disease Con- trol and Prevention estimates that 434,000 chil- dren younger than age six have blood-lead lev- els above the federal guideline (Avril
2003).4 Hazards due to lead paint are most serious among poor, nonwhite households, who have a far higher incidence of lead poisoning than their higher-income white counterparts (Leonard et al. 1993, 8; National Low
Income Housing Coali- tion 2003). St. Louis, which has the nations fourth oldest housing stock, has childhood lead poisoning rates about six times the national av-erage. In 1999, the citys lead poisoning preven- tion
program was scheduled to decontaminate about 500 low-income apartments. However, at that rate, it will finish deleading St. Louis in about 200 years (Grunwald 1999). Additional evidence on the connections be- tween
poor housing and health comes from a controlled study carried out in England, which revealed that residents living in high-quality public housing in West London were far less likely to become sick than those living in

the costs of fail-ing to provide decent homes in
low- quality public housing in East London. Further, researchers concluded that

stable environ-ments to familiesin the forms of ill health, underachievement, crime and vandalismwill far exceed the
investment in adequate mainte- nance and repair of housing (cited in Hynes et al. 2000, 3536).
Although there may be room for improving our ability to measure the cost-effectiveness of improved housing, physi- cal problems caused by poor housing should not persist.

Bratt 2 adds Rachel G. Bratt, Michael E. Stone and Chester Hartman (professor and chair of the Department of Urban and
Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University and a Fellow at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies; professor of
community planning and public policy at University of Massachusetts, Boston; director of research at the Poverty & Race Re- search
Action Council in Washington, DCan organization for which he served as executive di- rector and president from its founding in
1990 through 2003). Why a Right to Housing Is Needed and Makes Sense: Editors Introduction. Temple University Press. 2006.
Further, recent research on impacts of home-lessness on children has revealed that while only 5 percent of children entering
shelters had a developmental delay requiring specialist eval- uation, . . . half of the children living in home- less shelters had one or
more developmental de- lays. In addition, although nearly one-half the school-age children in
homeless shelters needed special education evaluation, only 22 percent ac- tually
received this testing. Children living in shelters also missed far more days of school
than did housed children. And, finally, one-half of all children in shelters showed signs of
anxiety and depression and demonstrated significantly more behavioral disturbances, such as tantrums and
aggressive behavior, than did poor housed chil- dren (cited in Sandel et al. 1999, 39). Although it may be difficult to prove that these
and other types of problems are caused by poor or no housing,7 it is undeniable that, at the very least, inadequate
housing (including long-term residence in shelters) can exacerbate an already problematic
situation. A key aspect of family well-being necessarily involves the provi- sion of decent, affordable housing (Bratt 2002). As
a bi-partisan task force report declared: a decent place for a family to live becomes a platform for dignity and self-respect and a base
for hope and improvement. A decent home al- lows people to take advantage of opportunities in education, health and
employmentthe means to get ahead in our society. A decent home is the important beginning point for growth into the mainstream
of American life. (Report of the National Housing Task Force 1988, 3). More recently, this assertion was echoed by the
Congressionally-appointed bi-partisan Millen- nial Housing Commission: Decent and affordable housing has a demon- strable
impact on family stability and the life outcomes of children. Decent housing is an in- dispensable building block of healthy neighbor-
hoods, and thus shapes the quality of community life. . . . Better housing can lead to better outcomes for individuals, communities,
Housing has also been credited as providing a
and American society as a whole. (2002, 1)8
significant boost on the economic ladder due to the opportunity it can
present to build assets. Although a key argument of this book is that housing need not be viewed as the only or best
vehicle for promoting savings and wealth accumulation (see Stone 1993,195196, for a discussion of a social alternative to wealth
creation through homeownership), and that much more housing can and should be socially and publicly owned, we acknowledge
since the end of World War II, millions of households have been
that, at least
able to gain a foothold in the economy through their ability to become
homeowners. However, recent research points to several important concerns and risks related to low-income
homeownership, including the possibility of financial losses (see Retsinas and Belsky 2002:Part 3). And of course a central defect of
the homeownership push is the enormous racial disparities that exist in home- ownership rates and in the wealth-generating
potential and actuality of home purchase (see Chapter 3 and Shapiro 2004).9 Beyond the effects of housing itself, where people live,
in terms of neighborhood setting and locational advantage, has a great deal to do with access to both educational opportunities and
employ- ment and social networks (see Chapter 18).

Implementation of housing rights is empirically successful in reducing

homelessness and changing government responses towards housing.
Loison-Leruste and Quilgars write 09
Marie Loison-Leruste and Deborah Quilgars (Centre Maurice Halbwachs, Equipe de Recherche sur les Inegalites Sociales, Paris, France;
Centre for Housing Policy, University of York, York, England). Increasing Access to Housing: Implementing the Right to Housing in
England and France. European Journal of Homelessness. December 2009. HW.

Levels of homelessness acceptances have fallen in recent years in England

from over 100,000 households in the early to mid-2000s to 63,170 in 2007/8. The primary reason

for this is believed to be the change in the approach by local authorities from one of responding
to housing emergencies towards one of prevention (Busch- Geertsema and Fitzpatrick, 2008). Local housing authorities
are now required to produce homeless strategies that include their approach to
preventing homeless-ness. There is an attempt to identify potentially
homeless households early and provide them with services that will prevent homelessness (e.g.
tenancy sustain- ment services), as well as an emphasis on working with (potentially) homeless
households to review their housing options (e.g. by supporting a move to a private rented tenancy). Despite
a reduction in the number of homelessness applications the number of households in temporary accommodation has remained relatively high,
indicating persistent difficulties in rehousing households into settled housing, although there have been some modest falls since 2005.

Thus, a right to housing helps to ensure physical security and promote

individual empowerment.

[C2] My Second Contention is that a right to housing is necessary to protect
human dignity and hold governments accountable to citizens needs.
Housing is essential to ensure human dignity.
Felix Morka writes:
(Mr. Morka is the Director of the Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC), which was established in 1995 to promote and
advance social and economic rights in Nigeria). The Right to Adequ[cCate Housing. University of Minnesota Human Rights
Research Center) HW.
Housing forms an indispensable part of human dignity. "Adequate housing"
It fulfills deep-
encompasses more than just the four walls of a room and a roof over ones head. Housing is essential for normal healthy living.
seated psychological needs for privacy and personal space; physical needs for security and protection from inclement
weather; and social needs for basic gathering points where important relationships are forged and nurtured. In many societies, a
house also serves an important function as an economic center where essential commercial activities are performed. Despite global recognition of the
importance of housing to human welfare and survival, it is estimated that over one billion people live in inadequate housing while over 100 million
people are homeless. [1] Governments claim lack of capacity and resources to implement programs and undertake reforms aimed at creating the
The right to adequate housing therefore provides a unique
conditions for expanding access to housing.
paradigm for monitoring the steps taken by states towards the provision of
housing through citizens demands and insistence upon the fulfillment of
this basic human right.

Rachel Bratt 3 adds: Rachel G. Bratt, Michael E. Stone and Chester Hartman (professor and chair of the Department
of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University and a Fellow at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies;
professor of community planning and public policy at University of Massachusetts, Boston; director of research at the Poverty &
Race Re- search Action Council in Washington, DCan organization for which he served as executive di- rector and president from
its founding in 1990 through 2003). Why a Right to Housing Is Needed and Makes Sense: Editors Introduction. Temple
University Press. 2006. HW.
THE EMOTIONAL AND SYMBOLIC IMPORTANCE OF HOUSING In addition to protecting people from the ele- ments and providing (or not providing) phys- ical safety,
housing fulfills a variety of critical functions in contemporary society.5 A landmark study prepared in 1966 for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare
(predecessor to the Department of Health and Human Ser- vices) investigated what was known about the relationship between housing and the feelings and behavior of

individuals and families. It con- cluded that The evidence makes it clear that housing affects perception of ones self, con-
tributes to or relievesstress, and affects health (Schorr 1966, 3). A decade later, a study of middle-income peo- ple affirmed that an important aspect of
the meaning of ones house is the sense of permanence and security one could experience....In this regard, people spoke of sinking roots, nesting, and generally settling down.

The house . . . seemed to be a powerful symbol of order, continuity, physical

safety, and a sense of place or physical belonging. . . . Closely connected . . . was [another] aspect of the houses meaningthe common notion
that the house was a refuge from the outside world or even a bastion against that world...: a desire to es- cape from other people and from social in- volvement, the establishment

of a place from which others could be excluded, and where, con- sequently, one could truly be oneself, in con- trol, more of an individual, capable of loving, and fully human .
(Rakoff 1977, quoted in Stone 1993, 15) Feminist architectural historian Dolores Hayden has also emphasized the emotional im- portance of housing: Whoever speaks of hous-
ing must also speak of home; the word means both the physical space and the nurturing that takes place there (1984, 63). If housing is over- crowded, dilapidated or otherwise

Empirical evidence demon-strating the importance of housing for emo-

inadequate, it is difficult, if not impossible, for family life to function smoothly.

comes from a recent study of the impacts of housing quality on

tional well-being

mental health; better-quality housing was related to lower levels of

psychological distress (Evans et al. 2000, 529). Jonathan Kozols poignant account of home- less families in New York City shelters un- derscores
the extent to which grossly inade- quate housing conditions contribute to family dysfunction:6 A lack of privacy creates stress for all family members; the inability to have guests
vastly constricts normal social access; children are unable to do homework and adults live in constant fear that their children will be en- dangered by the harsh social and
physical envi- ronments (Kozol 1988).

Regardless of whether or not people physically receive homes, a change in

governmental policy respects everyones dignity.
Culhane and Byrne 11
Dennis P Culhane and Thomas Byrne (Professor of Social Policy and Practice at The University of Pennsylvania; doctoral student at
University of Pennsylvania). The Right to Housing: An Effective Means for Addressing Homelessness? UPenn Journal of Law and
Social Change. August 2011. HW.
Nonetheless, like the English experience, there is reason to believe that the primary benefit of the right to

housing in France has occurred on a larger policy level, where the problems of
homelessness and instability have garnered increased attention. The success of a
legally enforceable right may be best measured not in terms of the number of
persons that obtain housing as a result of its existence, but in terms of its ability to
redirect the overall policy orientation of a country towards more effective
solutions to homelessness. Indeed, the ultimate benefit of an enforceable right to housing is possibly best described
by Lacharme, who argues: The DALO Act did not magic away all the problems, but it did engage an irreversible process: there is no
going back from the performance obligation. The enforceability of the right to housing is a potent
force for action by those enduring housing deprivation and those who work with

Additionally, identifying a right to housing reflects that the government

values individuals worth.
Adams 09 Kristen David Adams (Professor of Law, Stetson University College of Law). DO WE NEED A RIGHT TO
HOUSING? Nevada Law Journal. April 2009. HW.
b. Rights are Important in Defining Personhood, Citizenship, and Community Values Identifying something as a right makes an
important statement about community values. Stated differently, understanding what a persons rights are and are notrequires
an accounting of what it means to be a person, as well as a member of society.182 The value that society places on personhood and
citizenship is an important aspect of interpersonal respect.183 As Robert Nozicks respect principle suggests, respect for persons
cannot exist without respect for rights;184 rights establish the lines of interpersonal obligation and serv[e] to establish our most
fundamental connection with one another.185 Rights also make important statements about how a community sees itself.186
Calling something a right suggests that it reflects the values and basic moral characteristics of
the community.187 Thus, for the United States to recognize a right to housing, the
country must declare in a very public way the importance of housing as a part of
personhood and citizenship.188 Making such a declaration certainly has significant financial implications, as well.
Insofar as the economic cost, and value, of a right to housing is concerned, Chester Hartman has argued that the United
States unquestionably has the resources to make [the right to housing] available
to all its people.189 Thus, at least according to Hartman, the question is not whether the
country can afford such a right, but rather whether it values housing highly
enough to recognize such a right.190 Exploring the power of rights as a theoretical exercise accomplishes little if
the right cannot be implemented as a practical matter. Accordingly, the fol- lowing section turns to the challenges of political and
logistical feasibility.

Thus, regardless of whether or not a right to housing physically reduces

homelessness it ensures individual's dignity and holds the government
accountable, promoting social empowerment.