When we think of people who do not have access to clean drinking water and sanitation, the image of refugees in Africa or other parts of the developing world usually come to mind. But the poor and homeless in the United States often face the very same problems, according to a U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. After a U.S. visit earlier this year, the U.N. investigator Catarina de Albuquerque found that the challenges faced by U.S. homeless are in violation of international human rights standards.
A Huffington Post report on the U.N. investigation prompted one reader to suggest that EcoShells might go a long way toward alleviating the problems of the homeless in the United States. They already are being built in many other parts of the globe, including India and Indonesia.
“There is a great need to create affordable housing, and I agree that some form of housing needs to be a right for citizens to pursue,” the reader commented. “Ecoshells…are in use in underdeveloped countries as well as the U.S. These structures include the use of concrete in their construction, and are energy (efficient), fire- and disaster-resistant homes.”
The right to safe drinking water and restroom facilities is part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Many U.S. cities and counties are failing to meet these standards because of the ways they deal with homelessness, according to the article. The most recent federal homeless numbers show that 700,000 people are homeless in the United States.
Affordable housing for Americans has long been a dream of David South, founder of the Monolithic Dome Institute. “Two-thirds of all those that rent housing in America are one or two to a household,” South says. “Of those, 40% make less than $8 per hour. They lie on the edge, they need help, and it cannot be furnished with traditional housing.”
South believes that so-called “petite housing” is a solution. “We can build affordable housing by keeping units small and using Monolithic technology, which allows maintenance and utilities to be kept to a minimum,” he said. “What’s more, the lifespan of a Monolithic structure is so long the amortization helps keep them affordable. And they are the safest buildings on the planet.”