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Habitat for Humanity observes World Habitat Day

Supporters asked to sign pledge to help eliminate poverty housing

BRATISLAVA/ATLANTA (Oct. 1, 2012) – In observance of World Habitat Day, Habitat for Humanity is hosting hundreds of global events to take action and help raise awareness about the issue of  poverty housing in communities and the need for decent housing around the world. World Habitat Day, marked this year on October 1, is designated by the United Nations as a time to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right to adequate shelter of all people.

This year, Habitat for Humanity is urging supporters to go online and sign the “Pledge to End Poverty Housing.” This virtual petition calls on key decision-makers  to commit to recognizing the role of housing in communities, making affordable, adequate housing a priority and changing the systems and policies that lead to poverty housing.

“With so many families struggling to find a decent place to call home, World Habitat Day helps to raise awareness on how inadequate shelter impacts entire communities,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “Ending substandard housing will require the public, private and social sectors to work together so that everyone benefits. Uniting around improved housing for all can help us to create a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”

In Great Britain, Habitat marked the occasion by writing an open letter to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to thank him for his service to the UN as co-chair of the high level panel on post 2015 Millennium Development Goals and referencing his speech to the UN in which he referred to property rights as one of the key building blocks to prosperity in the developing world. The letter urges his continued support, asks for greater emphasis on property rights and land tenure issues in the post 2015 development agenda and highlights the work of Habitat for Humanity in doing so.

In Romania, more than 200 volunteers will gather for a week to build 14 homes for low-income families in two locations. It is called Big Build. This event has been organized by Habitat Romania on the World Habitat Day week for the fourth consecutive year.

Throughout October and November, Habitat for Humanity and affiliated organizations from around the world will host hundreds of events in honor of World Habitat Day— from builds and flash mobs to parades, contests, housing forums and everything in between — to draw attention to the need for safe, decent, affordable shelter for all. Habitat for Humanity’s two-month observance of the need for safe, decent and affordable shelter and the pivotal role of housing in community development will culminate with Habitat’s flagship annual event, the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. The 29th annual Carter Work Project returns to Haiti as part of its two-year effort to strengthen and support Habitat’s work there.

The United Nations established World Habitat Day in 1985 to spotlight the need for adequate shelter worldwide. On the first Monday in October each year, Habitat for Humanity affiliates and national organizations raise their collective voice, take action to change the systems, policies and attitudes that lead to poverty housing, and engage partners in solutions.

Some of the other events hosted by Habitat for Humanity include:

Bogota, Colombia— Habitat for Humanity International was among the organizers of the Forum on Adequate Housing in Latin America and the Caribbean, a multi-sectorial event focused on defining practical and innovative solutions for ensuring access to adequate housing in sustainable and inclusive cities, on Sept. 25-28.

Warsaw, Poland – Habitat for Humanity Poland will present a photo exhibition in a Warsaw metro station depicting the realities of poverty housing.

Philadelphia—A “flash mob” of Habitat volunteers will descend on Center City Philadelphia to frame a house. Passersby will be invited to sign the newly framed walls in a show of support for Habitat.

For a full list of World Habitat Day events or to sign the “Pledge to End Poverty Housing,” please visit www.habitat.org/whd/2012.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit Christian housing organization that brings together people of all races, nationalities and religions to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families by welcoming people of all races, religions and nationalities to construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit www.habitateurope.org.