During the recent season of thanksgiving and celebration, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for all the families and volunteers who are a part of the mission of Habitat for Humanity. We leave 2011 energized by some great milestones and wonderful successes, while at the same time realizing that the growing need for affordable housing calls us to do even more. As always, we are committed to using every tool at our disposal.
Advocacy allows us to put shelter on hearts and minds in powerful ways. -Jonathan Reckford
One of the tools we are reaching for more often is the rehabilitation of existing housing. The growth of Habitat’s rehab and renovation efforts around the world has led to some truly creative housing solutions, including the revitalization of neighborhoods by preserving historic homes. As you’ll read in our features section, these partnerships offer us a chance to find even more ways to put families in better housing, while enabling us to respond to the needs of residents in the neighborhoods where we work.
Another of our important tools is advocacy, which allows us to put shelter on hearts and minds in such powerful ways that poverty housing becomes socially, politically and religiously unacceptable. Currently, in the United States, we are preparing for one of our largest advocacy events, the annual Habitat on the Hill conference. Around the world we are also working very hard to help families — and particularly women — acquire secure tenure to their land. We recently learned about one young mother in Africa with AIDS who has taken crucial steps to secure land tenure so that her children can stay in their home upon her death. You can learn more about Habitat’s far-reaching advocacy efforts by watching the newly posted video in our features section.
As a worldwide organization, we are also working on a very important tool — the development of a new strategic plan to guide us into the future. We could not linger on the celebration of our 500,000th house when 1.6 billion people around the world lack adequate shelter. Our desire is to create new strategies that will enable us to have a greater impact worldwide as we serve families and transform communities.
Whatever your tool of choice, I thank you for picking it up — and I urge you to continue helping us move forward. There are so many ways to get involved with Habitat and to help create real change in your community and in the world. With your help and God’s blessings, this year can be full of possibilities and progress.