£25k grant to research housing rights around the world
6 February 2018
Professor Helen Carr, working in collaboration with colleagues from universities in South Africa and Brazil, has secured a £25,000 grant to research the theory and practice of housing rights around the world.
The grant was awarded by the Academy of Medical Sciences Global Challenges Research Fund Networking Grant Scheme to Professor Carr, Professor Danie Brand from the University of Pretoria in South Africa and Professor Maria Fernanda Salcedo of the Federal University of Minas Gerais.
Three interdisciplinary workshops will be held – one at Kent, one in Pretoria and one in Belo Horizonte – under the theme of 'Home/City/World: Housing, Inclusion and Sustainability in the 21st Century'.
The workshops have three main aims: to re-conceptualise home and housing rights for the 21st century; to research the lived realities of home and housing rights in a variety of global cities; and to analyse the implementation of housing rights in a variety of locations.
Professor Carr said the award panel had commended the interplay between theory and practical housing problems in the research project proposal. The panel also liked the interdisciplinary nature of the project and the fact that it built upon an existing collaboration.
In addition to research expertise in housing, Professor Carr is interested in social welfare and public law, and the regulation of the poor, especially the homeless, the asylum seeker, the anti-social and those in need of care.
In 2015, she co-authored a report Reconciling owning and renting in shared ownership housing: Moving forward that examined the practices of shared ownership in the UK. And in November 2017, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, she co-authored a major new report (Closing the Gaps – Health and Safety at Home) for housing charity Shelter, calling for the introduction of a new Housing Act. The report, co-authored by Dr Ed Kirton-Darling (Kent Law School) and by Professor David Cowan and Dr Edward Burtonshaw-Gunn (Bristol Law School), was subsequently referenced in the Commons Library briefing paper for the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill 2017-19 ahead of its Second Reading in January 2018.
Previous research into housing law reform by Professor Carr contributed to a new law aimed at protecting the rights of both tenants and landlords in Wales. The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, granted Royal Assent in January 2016, was described as 'ground-breaking' legislation by the Welsh Government. It aims to improve the lives of more than one million people who rent their home in Wales, replacing complex pieces of existing legislation with one clear legal framework.