What Are You Doing to Make a Difference for World Housing?

The first Monday in October is World Habitat Day, a day to do your part to help those around the world who do not have a decent place to live.
World Habitat Day 2010 is Monday, October 4. Habitat for Humanity will join efforts around the world and in host city Shanghai, China, throughout the week to mark the observance.
This year’s theme is, “Better City, Better Life,” with a focus on neighborhood revitalization in the United States and the link between healthy homes and healthy families internationally.

Child in Kenya's Kibera slum.

This child is standing in front of a place of business in one of the largest slums in Africa.

According to the Habitat:
*The amount of low-income families who lack safe and affordable housing is related to the number of children who suffer from asthma, viral infections, anemia, stunted growth and other health problems.
*Children of homeowners are more likely to stay in school, score better on tests and have reduced behavioral problems.
*Children younger than five living in Habitat for Humanity houses in Malawi showed a 44 percent reduction in malaria, respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases.
*By the year 2030, an additional three billion people will need access to housing. That equates to a demand for 96,150 new affordable units every day; 4,000 every hour.
Habitat for Humanity’s goal is to build homes with participation from those in need, and to address the cause of poverty housing. The group plans to expand its housing program in the United States in order to rehab more homes and vacant homes, and to improve the energy efficiency of homes.
Volunteers building for World Habitat Day

Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford joins volunteers in raising the wall of a new Habitat house in Washington D.C. last year.

In 1984, U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, took the Jimmy Carter Work Project to New York City. Now in its 27th year, the Carter Work Project will join more than 1,000 volunteers in six U.S. cities throughout the week to build and rehabilitate 86 houses with Habitat homeowner families, the Carters and other celebrities.
The six states are Washington, D.C.; Baltimore and Annapolis, Maryland; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota; and Birmingham, Alabama.
So what can you do from Chicago for World Habitat Day?
*Advocate: Send a message to an elected official, take part in a rally or ask supporters to sign a petition.
*Volunteer: The driving force behind Habitat for Humanity is its volunteer’s time, talent and treasures.
*Raise Money: Set up a fundraiser; World Habitat Day is a great time to raise funds for the Habitat in your area.
*Donate: Your gift helps families break the cycle of poverty and build financial security.
*Educate: Organize a public awareness event that highlights the need for affordable housing in your own community and discuss the need for improved shelter for people around the world. Check out some of the events going on throughout Illinois.
*Click a pic: Habitat for Humanity is collecting photos to display on a Photo Wall asking our leaders in Washington: What will you build? Simply write, “What will you build?” on a piece of paper, take a picture of it while holding the message and upload the picture to Habitat’s Photo Wall.
World Habitat Day is a wake-up call to the world that we are all responsible for the shelter of humanity. Do your part and help make affordable, healthy housing a reality for all.