Habitat for Humanity honored for disability inclusion in housing programs

ATLANTA (April 29, 2013) – Habitat for Humanity received the 2013 Disability Inclusion Award during a special presentation at InterAction’s annual Forum today in Washington, D.C. InterAction is an alliance of more than 180 U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations that work in developing countries to overcome poverty and improve quality of life.

The Disability Inclusion Award recognizes InterAction member organizations that have worked toward greater inclusion in their general activities and operations. The award specifically recognizes Habitat’s programming to promote community living for individuals with intellectual disabilities in Romania, psychosocial support to individuals with mental disabilities in Kyrgyzstan and job skills development and soft loans for businesses in Indonesia.

“Poverty and disability can be a devastating combination and can result in a downward spiral,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “We believe that including people with disabilities in our housing efforts improves both their living conditions and enhances their roles within the community. Having access to proper housing also can provide great relief and reassurance for families and caretakers.”

In Romania, the award recognized a Habitat program that created a home where six people with severe intellectual disabilities are able to live together with their peers without being isolated in institutions, providing the opportunity for a degree of independent living. This social protection also forms an important aspect of adapted disaster risk reduction by ensuring that people with intellectual disabilities have access to services following disasters.

In Kyrgyzstan, Habitat has partnered with families coping with mental health issues or intellectual disabilities by providing both psychosocial support and home renovations and repairs to heating systems, insulation, roofs, plaster and plumbing.

In Indonesia, Habitat’s community-based disaster management program takes a special focus on identifying vulnerable groups and integrating their specific needs into the community planning. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, reconstruction efforts included the development of self-help groups that provided skill development and soft loans for starting business enterprises for individuals with special needs.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit Christian housing organization that seeks to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 600,000 families by welcoming people of all races, religions and nationalities to construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit www.habitat.org, or follow us at www.facebook.com/habitat or at www.twitter.com/habitat_org or join Habitat’s blog community at www.habitat.org/blog.