JACKSON: Should Housing Be a Constitutional Right? One State Might Make It So

One of the obvious problems created when health care is declared a right is the instant increase in demand for services that could not possibly be met. The same would happen if housing is identified as a right, a step that California is considering.

“Establishing a right to health care creates the prospect of infinite demand for care,” PRI President and CEO Sally Pipes wrote in 2020. “But health care goods and services are necessarily scarce. There’s no way to create an unlimited supply to meet that potential demand.”

It’s an easy concept most can grasp, though it seems to be outside the abilities of Sacramento lawmakers. Assemblyman Matt Haney, a San Francisco Democrat, has introduced a bill, ACA-10, that proposes an amendment to the California Constitution that would create a “fundamental human right to housing.” Should the resolution be approved by lawmakers, Californians would then vote on it in 2024 — and it will probably win by a wide margin. A 2020 poll found that two-thirds of state voters support an amendment guaranteeing a right to housing.

The voters who say “yes” will of course assume that the pressure on California’s housing market will be relieved. It’s unlikely their expectations

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