Documentary film ‘PUSH’ by Swedish director Fredrik Gertten was screened as part of the IFI Documentary Festival 2019.

The film documents UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, as she travels the world in an attempt to figure out the reason behind the housing crisis.

The documentary explores why housing is considered to be a market instead of a fundamental human right.

You know it’s time to move out of your neighbourhood when vintage shops open, poor people start to dress well (…)  prices go up and you get the push.

This crisis, as the documentary suggests, goes beyond gentrification. Private equity firms are now the biggest landlords and houses are considered to be assets. Prices go up, while incomes stay the same. People are being pushed out from their homes and the governments don’t seem to react.

Farha, alongside the United Cities Local Government and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,  started the new worldwide movement The Shift to ‘reclaim and realize the fundamental right to housing -to move away from housing as a place to park excess capital, to housing as a place to live in dignity, to raise families and participate in community’.

Following the screening, a panel discussion was chaired by architect Emmett Scanlon, Michelle Norris, professor at UCD, and Eoin Ó Broin, Sinn Fein TD and author of ‘Home: Why Public Housing is the Answer’.

Panel discussion
Photo credit: Carolina Miyasaka

Ó Broin stated that governments made it lucrative for private companies to build accommodation, as there is little regulation and small taxes paid.

The panel discussed the importance of the government assuming an active role in the housing issue. Non-market housing, where human need is more important than profit.