The United Nations has designated October 4, 2010 as World Habitat Day t0 raise awareness for the need for improved housing and highlight the priorities of Habitat for Humanity, including the link between health and housing and the need in America for neighborhood revitalization. In conjunction with World Habitat Day, Habitat for Humanity has established a website at http://worldhabitatdaynews.org/ to educate the public of the need for quality housing and let you know what you can do to support World Habitat Day. Some of the housing facts presented on this page are pretty startling in the ability of quality housing and home ownership to benefit health, children and communities:
- 10,000 children between the ages of 4 and 9 are hospitalized for asthma attacks each year because of cockroach infestation at home; and more than 180 children die each year in house fires attributable to faulty heating and electrical equipment. (Sandel, et al: 1999)
- Housing deprivation leads to an average of 25 percent greater risk of disability or severe ill health across a person’s life span. Those who suffer housing deprivation as children are more likely to suffer ill health in adulthood, even if they live in non-deprived conditions later in life. (Marsh, et al.: 2000)
- Children of homeowners are more likely to stay in school (by 7 to 9 percent), and daughters of homeowners are less likely to have children by age 18 (by 2 to 4 percent). (Green and White: 1996)
- Children who live in poor housing have lower educational attainment and a greater likelihood of being impoverished and unemployed as adults. (Harker: 2006)
- Homeowners are more likely to know their U.S. representative (by 10 percent) and school board head by name (by 9 percent), and are more likely to vote in local elections (by 15 percent) and work to solve local problems (by 6 percent). (DiPasquale and Glaeser: 1998)
- Homeowners are more likely to be satisfied with their homes and neighborhoods, and are more likely to volunteer in civic and political activities. (Rohe, Van Zandt, and McCarthy: 2000)
The need for decent, affordable housing in this country is one of our greatest needs, and World Habitat Day aims to bring focus to this vital issue. I strongly encourage you to visit the World Habitat Day website and find some way that you can become involved in sustaining our communities through volunteering, educating the public our advocating for improved housing.
On a side note, SHP Leading Design will be volunteering as a firm on the “sustainable” model house being constructed by Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity on October 2, so look for pictures of our hard work coming soon!