Habitat for Humanity celebrates World Habitat Day

On Monday, Oct. 6, the United Nations and Habitat for Humanity will observe World Habitat Day.

Celebrated by the United Nations and the international community since 1985, World Habitat Day is a time to reflect on the current crisis of housing worldwide and to build a stronger future for the human habitat. With 1.6 billion people living in inadequate shelter around the world, Habitat for Humanity will raise its voice on World Habitat Day to emphasize the importance of simple, decent housing — a place to be … for all human beings.

Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County is committed to supporting our habitat locally and throughout the world. Since 1994, we have built 18 houses right here in Archuleta County, providing a simple, decent place to live for more than 75 people. In 2009, we will celebrate our 15th year in operation and plan to build our 19th and 20th homes.

However, we also understand the need to help our global community as well. According to UN-Habitat, one out of every three city dwellers — nearly a billion people — live in slums.

Many slum residents lack secure tenure without any legal documentation of their property rights in addition to living in severely inadequate housing conditions. Secure tenure not only facilitates opportunities for investment and wealth accumulation, but also provides a source of identity, status and political power and serves as a basis for the pursuit of other rights. Through two incredible relationships, HfHAC has provided support and opportunities for families on the other side of the world.

This past summer, Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County invited four volunteers from the Pakistan aid organization, Pakistan Relief, to visit Pagosa Springs.

The Pakistani volunteers came to Colorado to learn about Habitat for Humanity and to further understand differences and discover similarities in American and Pakistani cultures.

Donations from caring individuals at the Community Pakistani Night hosted by Habitat provided enough funds for Pakistan Relief to build two skills centers in the remote village of Guraz. We are proposing the Town of Pagosa Springs consider designating Guraz as Pagosa’s sister village in Pakistan.

More recently, HfHAC has supported Habitat in Kyrgyzstan, a central Asian country with mountainous regions much like those in the Southwest. Habitat Kyrgyzstan builds cane reed homes, which combines ancient wisdom with modern technology. All materials are locally available and heating costs are reduced by 70 percent due to the design. The homes are ecologically friendly, easy to build and are also earthquake resistant.

Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 250,000 houses worldwide, providing simple decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people.

If you want to learn more about World Habitat Day and how you can advocate to end poverty housing, visit www.AdvocateWithHabitat.org.

To learn more about how you can get involved with Habitat right here Pagosa Springs, call Cindi Galabota at 264-6960.