AFFORDBALE housing, social security and libraries, are three of the biggest concerns for Colchester residents, a report has revealed.

The study, which was published by the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex, also focuses on food banks and child poverty, and shows what could be done to provide an adequate standard of living.

The report, produced by Dr Koldo Casla and Lyle Barker from the Human Rights Centre and the School of Law, is part of a project called Human Rights Local.

It looks at each one of the issues from a local perspective, as well as a national one, highlighting the need for more affordable housing and an adequate social safety net.

It also stresses the importance for public libraries across Essex to keep their doors open and continue being run by Essex County Council funded staff.

Dr Casla, who leads the Human Rights Local project, said: “By looking at the state of social rights in Essex, this report focuses on the rights that people value the most in their daily lives, and in the place that matters the most to them, in their local community.

“Public authorities must make use of their available resources to fulfil all human rights for all.

“And this includes, of course, UK Government, but also Colchester Council and Essex County Council.”

Bringing together research and interviews with Colchester Council, community groups, and charities, the study revealed “housing remains unaffordable in the private rental sector and inaccessible in the public sector”.

The authors recommend that Colchester Borough Homes and the council should build more social housing so households at greater risk of harm, disadvantage and discrimination are not living in unsafe, over-crowded or unfit places.

They also say the council should make sure emergency and temporary accommodation is temporary and learn from best practice to avoid the use of Bed and Breakfast.

Dr Casla added: “This report shows that human rights are for everyone, and that they are not an abstract notion or a concern only for other people in faraway countries.”