Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Homeless People

July 2015

This short communication provides insights into water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for homeless people through a scoping study conducted in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It investigates homeless people’s access to WASH through the lens of a rights-based approach.

It demonstrates that the denial of homeless people’s rights to WASH reflects their marginal position in society and an unequal distribution of power and opportunities. The study ultimately suggests a rights-based approach to dealing with the root causes of discrimination and marginalisation rather than just their symptoms.

For the homeless — who not only lack substantive rights, but also the means through which to claim their rights — an integrated rights-based approach to WASH offers the possibility for social inclusion and significant improvements in their living conditions. Given the unique deprivations of homelessness, it is argued that in addressing the lack of access to adequate WASH for homeless people, the immediate goal should be the fulfilment and protection of the right to adequate shelter.

Additional details

PublisherJournal of Water and Health
ThemesHomeless people, Leave no one behind, Social norms

Share this resource

Learn more about SLH Research

We use a range of research approaches, which aim to draw attention to urgent knowledge gaps, blind spots and emerging questions, often at a critical point in time, to support policy-makers, practitioners and partners in navigating and responding swiftly.

SLH Research and Learning