A place to be on World Habitat Day -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

A place to be on World Habitat Day

By Arlene Corbin Lewis

Originally declared as the first Monday of October in December 1985 by the United Nations General Assembly, World Habitat Day recognizes the state of human settlements and the basic need for adequate shelter for all.

This year, Habitat for Humanity International is preparing for Monday, Oct. 6, like it never has before. In a coordinated effort to raise awareness and encourage action, HFHI staff members have begun distributing a toolkit that outlines ways in which Habitat affiliates and national offices can get involved through public awareness and education, advocacy and even fund raising.

Items such as World Habitat Day T-shirts and posters will be available, and there are plans to release on Oct. 6 a comprehensive study about the crisis of secure tenure around the world. Habitat’s theme for World Habitat Day 2008, “A Place to Be…,” was chosen to highlight tenure security issues around the world, focusing on the legal, financial, social or cultural constraints that make it difficult for some people to be secure in their own homes.

“This is a particularly special day of the year,” said Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford, “on which Habitat for Humanity can and should join the rest of the world to highlight the need for, and the importance of, housing and collectively to develop ideas and solutions that will ultimately move more families into decent shelter.”

It is Habitat’s goal that one day World Habitat Day will have the same significance and impact as World AIDS Day or Earth Day. With some effort and momentum, more and more people will be reminded on the first Monday every October of the need for adequate and accessible housing worldwide. And more and more will feel compelled to help address those needs throughout the year.

Arlene Corbin Lewis (acorbinlewis@habitat.org) is associate director of communications for HFHI’s Government Relations and Advocacy office in Washington.