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Students nationwide stand up for affordable housing during Habitat for Humanity’s ‘Act! Speak! Build! Week’ 2006

More than 250 youth groups raise awareness for affordable housing during Habitat’s annual student-led week of advocacy.

AMERICUS, Ga. (March 30, 2006) – More than 250 youth groups will rally together April 3-9, on school campuses and in communities around the world advocating for people in need of decent shelter. Habitat for Humanity’s fifth-annual emphasis on student advocacy titled, “Act! Speak! Build! Week” will include political-action days, “shack-a-thons,” housing symposiums and candlelight vigils.

Youth ages five to 25 will highlight the 2006 theme, “Poverty Knows No Borders,” to their communities and government representatives. The theme emphasizes the need for affordable and safe shelter.

Students also will take part in coordinated efforts, including public awareness walks and rallies, letter writing campaigns, presentations for elementary-age youth and noontime prayers for an end to poverty housing. Outside of the United States, advocacy events will be held in such places as Armenia, Guyana, Bolivia, Hong Kong, Sierra Leone, South Korea and Nigeria.

It is estimated that one in six people in the world today live on less than $1 a day, according to World Bank. Furthermore, extreme poverty kills a child every three seconds, according to UNICEF.

Highlights of Act! Speak! Build! Week 2006 Events:
Washington D.C.:
Youth from Loyola College of Maryland, the University of Maryland-College Park, Mount Saint Mary’s University and District of Columbia AmeriCorps members are coordinating with Habitat for Humanity International’s Government Relations for “Habitat on the Hill.” This day-long event will include appointments with politicians, advocacy workshops and training sessions with substandard housing experts.

Philadephia: Students from Temple University, Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania have formed a coalition for Act! Speak! Build! Week 2006. Their plans include a march to the governor’s office and panel speakers that will represent various perspectives on housing issues.

Los Angeles: Students from the University of California - Los Angeles will host Habitat for Humanity’s photo exhibit titled “Rebuilding Homes, Renewing Spirits.” The collection of images shows the destruction and recovery efforts surrounding the 2004 Asian tsunami. Additionally, students will build a small-scale house on campus with facts written on it. They will also distribute information about homelessness and poverty housing followed by a fund-raiser.

Guyana: Students in Guyana are expanding Act! Speak! Build! Week over several months and hosting a church service, a media awareness campaign, lectures with multiple schools, a candlelit vigil, a poverty exhibit and a fund-raising dinner and movie.

Bolivia: Students in Bolivia are planning a housing exhibit in the main plaza of two cities in which youth, ages eight to 11, will have educational booths addressing inadequate housing topics. Students will also organize a blitz build with more than 200 students and will also build a symbolic structure on a school campus out of small bricks.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for one million people. www.habitat.org.