From the editors -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

From the editors

Is Habitat for Humanity a movement or a franchise?
Such questions came up frequently in philosophical debates during Habitat’s rapid expansion in the late 1990s. In a constantly changing world, we are forever defining and redefining who we are―ever mindful that we need to stay focused on our mission of “decent homes in decent communities.”

In truth, the answer to that initial question is not a simple “either … or,” but a much more complex “both … and.” We are both a movement and a franchise. An important piece of Habitat’s ultimate goal is to put “shelter on the hearts and minds of people in such a powerful way that poverty housing and homelessness become socially, politically and religiously unacceptable in our nations and world.” And at the same time, our approach is to work with local communities to accomplish the “building of houses” as well as “building the brand” of Habitat for Humanity.

This issue of the Forum explores the topic of advocacy. Paradoxically, advocacy is both a new effort and a foundational part of who we are as an organization. The articles in this issue discuss many of the challenges that face Habitat as we define what advocacy is and refine how we measure it.

It’s important as well to celebrate advocacy efforts that are beginning to bear fruit in the United States and around the world.

Anita Mellott and Karan Kennedy