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Habitat for Humanity in Europe and Central Asia joins World Habitat Day celebrations

October 5, 2009

BRATISLVA, SLOVAKIA (October, 2009)– The United Nations designated the first Monday of October as World Habitat Day to remind the world of its collective responsibility to address substandard housing and recognize the basic human right for adequate shelter.

“World Habitat Day is an opportunity to bring attention to the worldwide need for decent and affordable housing,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “During World Habitat Day events, we join the many organizations that are addressing the global issue of poverty housing with particular emphasis on the urban challenges in the rapidly growing cities.”

Weeklong events will focus on housing issues. In Europe and Central Asia, Habitat for Humanity is hosting a Big Build event in Romania. Over 250 volunteers, local and international, will gather in Beius, Bihor Country, to build for underprivileged families 10 homes in just 5 days.

The build will be launched by Jan Sorensen, the UN representative in Bucharest, who will work on the construction site along the UK ambassador Robert Barnett, area vice-president of Habitat for Humanity Don Haszczyn, a number of Irish politicians and other high-profile quests.

In Armenia, where last year Habitat for Humanity launched a project to assist low-income families in completing homes left half-build for more than two decades, local volunteers and partner families gather to work on the build site in the house of . Lernik Babayan. At the same time, Habitat Armenia is advocating for the adoption of appropriate housing policies on the governmental level. On October 5, a short film about Habitat Armenia is planned for broadcast on a local TV channel.

In the US, Habitat for Humanity joins the United Nations Human Settlements Program, UN-HABITAT, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Rockefeller Foundation to host World Habitat Day activities in Washington D.C.

Habitat’s public policy forum, taking place at the National Press Club, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, was selected as the first official event to commemorate the day.

The National Press Club event titled, “Whose American Dream: Moving toward a Balanced Housing Policy,” will host a panel of leading experts exploring the appropriate role of housing policy in meeting the needs of low-income families and revitalizing neighborhoods.

About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International is a global charity dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its foundation in 1976, Habitat has built and renovated more than 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for 1.5 million people.

In Europe and Central Asia Habitat for Humanity International works in 20 countries, building and repairing houses, offering housing microfinance services, improving water and sanitation, working on disaster response and advocating for affordable housing, all with families in need. In this region, Habitat has served more than 8,000 families together with volunteers and homeowners. Find out more at www.habitateurope.org