Tuesday, September 22, 2009

World Habitat Day

The United Nations has designated the 1st Monday of October each year as World Habitat Day.

According to the United Nations, more than 100 million people in the world today are homeless. Millions more face a severe housing problem living without adequate sanitation, with irregular or no electricity supply and without adequate security.
I can't imagine what life must be like for the people who have to live in these conditions day in and day out year after year. As I sit here in my comfortable padded chair in my air conditioned bedroom and type this post on my computer, which I can do because I have electricity, cable, etc, I can't help but feel guilty when I think of the children in this picture below...
Look at what they are faced with every day! The sad fact of the matter is this problem is not only abroad...it's right here in the United States! According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (2004) - about 95 million people, 1/3 of the nation, have housing problems including a high-cost burden, overcrowding, poor quality shelter and homelessness. The number of low-income families that lack safe and affordable housing is related to the number of children that suffer from asthma, viral infections, anemia, stunted growth and other health problems.

The Global Poverty Facts are even worse -
According to UN-Habitat (2006) - One out of every three city dwellers – nearly a billion people – lives in a slum. (Slum indicators include: lack of water, lack of sanitation, overcrowding, non-durable structures and insecure tenure.)

By the year 2030, an additional 3 billion people, about 40 percent of the world’s population, will need access to housing. This translates into a demand for 96,150 new affordable units every day and 4,000 every hour. (UN-HABITAT: 2005)

So, what can we do to help?
Advocate - Educate - Donate

Advocate for decent housing for all by submitting a photo of yourself holding a sign that says “It all starts at home” and submit it to Habitat’s photo petition on Flickr.com Habitat’s goal is to collect a minimum of 500 photos to deliver to the White House. Submit your photo by Friday, September 25, 2009.

Urge your legislators to support the Shelter, Land and Urban Assistance Act of 2009. Tell Congress to pass the SLUM Assistance Act!

Educate your community with Habitat for Humanity’s World Habitat Day handbook to learn more about the importance of secure tenure and neighborhood revitalization. Get even more information about the issue of insecure tenure by reading Habitat’s Shelter Report: building a secure future through effective land policies.

Brainstorm ways to get more people involved. Learn from the successes of last year’s campaign, and come up with brand-new ways to celebrate and publicize the important work of Habitat for Humanity.

Donate to be a part of making the world a better place and support Habitat’s efforts. Donate online today!

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