October 1: World Habitat Day

a world where everyone has a decent place to live

I learned this morning, via a campus-wide email from the SLU Collegiate Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, that the first Monday in October was designated World Habitat Day in 1985 by the United Nations General Assembly.

The campus group is spending the day building a large cardboard box on the quad. Members of the group will sleep in the box tonight to raise awareness about homelessness. There’s also an information table set up in the Student Center.

From the message sent to me:

World Habitat Day is a day for grassroots action throughout the world, starting in your community:

  • To call attention to the need for better shelter around the world.
  • To let it be known that affordable, adequate housing should be a priority everywhere.
  • To change the systems, policies and attitudes that lead to poverty housing, and involve partners in solutions.

This year’s theme, Many Homes, One Community, will call attention to the pivotal role of housing in a neighborhood’s progression.  Habitat for Humanity supporters around the globe will participate in special activities that highlight the need for safe, decent and affordable shelter.

In northern New York and Vermont, homelessness or near-homelessness is almost invisible to most of us. When I travel to large cities, it’s clear that there are people without proper housing–people sleep on park benches or in doorways. Here, we don’t see much of that, but there are many who live in substandard or barely inhabitable structures.

If you want to get involved, go here for information about Habitat chapters in or near your community.

Use the comment section to tell us about what you’re doing today–or during the year–to address housing needs in your community.

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One Response to “October 1: World Habitat Day”

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  1. Lucy Martin says:

    Ellen, I’d like to mention a secondary service by Habitat for Humanity that addresses a number of needs: “Re-stores”

    Habitat for Humanity Re-stores accept donations of surplus building materials, or those dated-but-still-decent cupboards that would otherwise be taken to the landfill once some kitchen renovation was completed.

    Keeping useful material out of landfills is a good goal. Providing still-useful items at low cost to the public is another good goal. And the proceeds go to help Habit programs, which help the homeless and challenge social attitudes about homelessness.

    Ottawa has at least two year-round re-store locations (east and west).

    Re-stores also exist in Brockville, Kingston and the Cornwall area. (See more Canadian locations here.)

    In the U.S. look for locations at this site.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see much within NCPR’s main listening area.

    I do see listings for Albany and Williston, Vermont.