September 30, 2011
In recognition of World Habitat Day this Monday, October 3, Habitat for Humanity organizations throughout the region will host Housing Forums to raise awareness regarding the need to reduce housing vulnerability in the face of climate-related disasters, among other issues.
SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica (September 30, 2011) – During the first days of October, Habitat organizations throughout the region of Latin America and the Caribbean will be uniting efforts to call attention to the urgent need for adequate housing. The Forums are part of Habitat for Humanity’s worldwide recognition of World Habitat Day , established by the United Nations in 1985 to call attention to the basic need for adequate housing in the world.
Although the issues covered in the Housing Forums are set to the local context of each country, all fit within a central idea: the importance of reducing housing vulnerability in the face of multi-hazard contexts and growing risks. “For low income and vulnerable families living in precarious housing conditions, any unforeseen event can threaten their lives, and the health, security and economy of the home and, therefore, the possibility for the family to escape from the cycle of poverty,” said Erwin Garzona, Disaster Response Manager for Habitat for Humanity Latin America and the Caribbean. “Habitat for Humanity is committed to changing this through prevention and mitigation, and by providing shelter and housing solutions with respect to the dignity of the people affected by disasters.”
For Habitat for Humanity national organizations, the need to advocate for equal access to adequate housing does not stop at the border.
“To collaborate in a national effort, in partnership with those working to build a better reality in Latin America and the Caribbean countries, is a cause for celebration and pride in our organization – and always better when we can do this in a way that calls for individual and collective action to address issues that help people find opportunities for the better quality of life that we all have the right to enjoy,” said Laura Castañon of Habitat for Humanity Mexico.
“A united Latin America and the Caribbean is necessary; rich in its diversity and humanity that understands its potential, which goes beyond borders. For this reason, this World Habitat Day we are called to duplicate our united efforts to ensure that the voice of those who are not heard echoes throughout the region; so that we make this world a home, where everyone has access to an adequate place to live.”
Today, 1.6 billion people live in inadequate shelter around the world; 1 billion of those live in slums. By 2030, it is expected that 2 billion people will live in slum communities. For Latin America and the Caribbean, the high concentration of families migrating to urban zones makes the devastating effects that a natural disaster can provoke an even harder reality, as was demonstrated in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
The Housing Forums will take place from Friday, September 29 through Tuesday, October 4.
Housing Forum focus per country:
- Colombia: Long-term solutions to urban disasters through holistic risk management and adaptation to climate change
- Costa Rica: Rooting and uprooting of families
- Honduras: Adequate housing – Beyond the short term
- Guatemala: Future challenges for sustainable housing
- Mexico: Right to the city, sustainability and climatic justice
- Argentina: Flyer distribution in Buenos Aires – “Cities and climate change”
- El Salvador: Concert – “United voices for a more human habitat”
- Paraguay: Campaign launch, “United, we build hope”
Many of these events will be transmitted live, and Habitat will be promoting discussion through its social networks throughout the region. Follow “Hábitat para la Humanidad” on Facebook  y Twitter  to participate.
About Habitat for Humanity Latin America and the Caribbean
Habitat for Humanity first opened its doors in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in 1979, and has since helped more than 100,000 low-income families to access adequate housing in the region. Headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, the Latin America and Caribbean regional office coordinates the efforts of 16 national organizations, as well as unique partnerships throughout the region. For more information, visit habitatlatino.org . 
Learn more about Habitat for Humanity in Latin America and the Caribbean.