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Habitat’s 3rd annual Shelter Report focuses on the critical link between health and housing around the world

ATLANTA (Sept. 28, 2010) –In recognition of World Habitat Day, October 4, Habitat for Humanity is releasing “Housing and Health: Partners Against Poverty,” a comprehensive policy report highlighting the connection between healthy homes and healthy families.

“Shelter plays a critical role not only in the health of individual families but in the well-being of communities and ultimately our larger global connection,” said Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International.

The report explores how housing and housing-related basics such as water and sanitation are linked and contends that a growing body of research demonstrates that substandard housing has a major impact on public health in poor and affluent countries alike.

Studies in Mexico conducted by the World Bank show that replacing dirt floors with cement floors significantly improved the health of children, resulting in a 20 percent reduction in parasites, and that children younger than 6 showed a 20 percent reduction in anemia.

In the United States, dampness and mold in homes account for more than one in five cases of asthma at an annual cost of $3.5 billion according to a U.S. Surgeon General report.

According to the report, to have a long-term impact on global health, interventions that combine health and housing are essential.

Copies of the 2011 Shelter Report will be presented on October 4 at a Habitat for Humanity program taking place at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., but is available online now at

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 350,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.75 million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit