Information About the 2009 World Habitat Day


The United Nations has designated the first Monday each October as World Habitat Day. This site was created to help others promote the 2009 World Habitat Day.
Content is from the site's 2009 archived pages and other outside sources.



World Habitat Day 2009: President Obama's speech.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Let's stand up on World Habitat Day and let it be known that affordable, adequate housing should be a priority everywhere—in our communities, in our towns, in our country, in our world.


Thank you On behalf of the organizers of World Habitat Day, we would like to express our deepest gratitude for your generous contribution towards our cause. Your donation of various janitorial supplies to impoverished communities across the globe has not only assisted our fundraising efforts but has also made a tangible impact in the lives of countless families. The United Nations has marked the first Monday of every October as World Habitat Day, a day when we stand united in emphasizing the importance of affordable, adequate housing for all. This year, as we worked towards promoting this cause and raising awareness about the pressing housing challenges faced by millions, your support was invaluable. By providing much needed janitorial supplies, you have ensured that poor families can maintain a clean, safe, and hygienic living environment, something that many of us take for granted. Such contributions can make a monumental difference, uplifting the quality of life and instilling a sense of pride and dignity in these families. In an ever-urbanizing world, the challenges of housing, sanitation, and infrastructure are paramount. It is through the collective efforts of organizations like yours that we can hope to address and overcome these challenges. Once again, thank you,, for your generosity and for standing with us in our mission to promote World Habitat Day across the globe. Your commitment to making a difference resonates deeply with our cause, and together, we hope to create a world where every individual has a decent place to call home.


News Facts


The United Nations has designated the first Monday each October as  
World Habitat Day.

This year on Oct. 5 in Washington, D.C. and around the world, please join Habitat for Humanity in support of this global observance as we come together and declare that the lack of decent, affordable housing is unacceptable.

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.
Worldwide, more than 2 million housing units per year are needed for the next 50 years to solve the present worldwide housing crisis. With our global population expanding, however, at the end of those 50 years, there would still be a need for another 1 billion houses. (UN-HABITAT: 2005)

Raising awareness and advocating for change are the first steps toward transforming systems that perpetuate the global plague of poverty housing. World Habitat Day serves as an important reminder that everyone must unite to ensure that everyone has a safe, decent place to call home.

The U.N. further states that both developed and developing countries, cities and towns are increasingly feeling the effects of climate change, resource depletion, food insecurity, population growth and economic instability.

Rapid rates of urbanization cause serious negative consequences - overcrowding, poverty, slums with many poorly equipped to meet the service demands of ever growing urban populations.

With over half of the world’s population currently living in urban areas the U.N. believes there is no doubt that the "urban agenda" will increasingly become a priority for governments, local authorities and their non-governmental partners everywhere. 

U.S. Housing Facts

  • About 95 million people, one third of the nation, have housing problems including a high-cost burden, overcrowding, poor quality shelter and homelessness. (National Low Income Housing Coalition: 2004) 
  • One in three American households spend more than 30 percent of income on housing, and one in seven spends more than 50 percent. (Joint Center for Housing Studies: 2006)  
  • 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. About 21,000 children have stunted growth attributable to the lack of stable housing; 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 electrical heating and electrical equipment. (Sandel, et al: 1999) 

Global poverty facts 

  • 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) 
  • 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.) (UN-HABITAT: 2006) 
  • UN-Habitat has reported that because of poor living conditions, women living in slums are more likely to contract HIV/AIDS than their rural counterparts, and children in slums are more likely to die from water-borne and respiratory illness. (UN-HABITAT: 2006)
  • Housing formation generates non-housing related expenditures that help drive the economy. (Kissick, et al: 2006)  
  • Investing in housing expands the local tax base. (Kissick, et al: 2006)



AN ASIDE: Jump ahead a decade to 2019.World Habitat Day is still celebrated. This is a good sign.

"Solutions begin with small steps individuals can take to alter the way our cities function. We must reduce the amount of waste we produce, and, at the same time, start seeing it as a valuable resource that can be re-used and recycled, including for energy." — UN Secretary-General António Guterres

This year’s Global Observance of World Habitat Day was held in Mexico City on Monday, 7 October. Celebrations were held across the world, including in the capital of Cameroon - Yaounde, Nakuru in Kenya, and Vancouver in Canada. The 2019 theme: Frontier Technologies as an innovative tool to transform waste to wealth built on last year’s theme “Municipal Solid Waste Management” which focused mainly on managing garbage, the focus of this year’s World Habitat Day is promoting the contribution of innovative frontier technologies to sustainable waste management to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11: inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities. Going beyond solid waste this includes all waste produced by human activity (solid, liquid, domestic, industrial and commercial), which continues to have a devastating impact on climate change, public health and the environment.

I planned to travel to Mexico City and bring with me a selection of womens glasses that would be donated with the help of the International Women's Club of Mexico City which supports a number of charities. I had contacted a local eyeglass store in Connecticut where I live to see if they would donate some women's frames. has a large presence online as well as three brick and mortor stores. I order from their online store all the time. The owner was receptive to my request so I actually took more than three dozen eyeglass frames with me. I really enjoyed visiting the National Anthropology Museum of Mexico City where World Habitat Day was celebrated this year. Global observance of World Habitat Day in Mexico was enthusiastically supported by UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Sharif, who attended the event and took part in the joint declaration together with Martha Delgado, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, in her role as UN-Habitat Assembly President, and Mexico City Environment Secretary Marina Robles.

The day after the World Habitat Day celebration I returned to the museum to spend some time. The National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropologia) in Mexico City contains the world's largest collection of ancient Mexican art and also has ethnographic exhibits about Mexico's present-day indigenous groups. The museum has 23 permanent exhibit halls. Archaeology exhibits are located on the ground floor and ethnographic exhibits about present-day indigenous groups in Mexico are on the upper level. It's well worth visiting if you are ever in Mexico City. I spent two days walking through the exhibits. Don't miss the large courtyard in the museum, which is a nice place to rest when you want to take a break.



The theme for World Habitat Day 2009 is "Planning our Urban Future"

Celebrations of World Habitat Day in Washington, D.C. will be an excellent opportunity to foster global discussion and raise the profile of shelter and urban issues at the national and international level. Events in the United States and around the world include policy forums, award presentations, luncheons, dinners, house-building and exhibitions.




World Habitat Day 2009: Dr. Anna Tibaijuka
Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT executive director, speaks at the kick-off event for the 2009 World Habitat Day global observance. To become an advocate for Habitat, visit


What can you do for World Habitat Day?

Advocate - Educate - Donate
ADVOCATE Photo by photo, Habitat for Humanity advocates have created this mosaic that has already been sent to the White House. Now it is time to deliver a strong message to Congress: Make housing a priority. Pass legislation that would prioritize adequate and affordable housing. Ask Congress to Make Housing A Priority on World Habitat Day!

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.

Take a virtual tour of the Capotillo informal settlement in the Dominican Republic and put yourself in the shoes of those who live in a broken community of violence, poverty and danger.

Link to Habitat for Humanity’s World Habitat Day 2009 resources page on your social media pages, personal web site or blog to spread the word and raise awareness.

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


So many people need your help
ARMAVIR, ARMENIA (10/10/08)- Six year-old Diego Manasyan lives with his mother, Ellada, and his two sisters in this deserted and crumbling Soviet-era building. ©Habitat for Humanity/Ezra Millstein
NAIROBI, KENYA (06/10/09) -- With an estimated population of more than one million people, Kibera is the largest slum in all of Africa.
-- ©Habitat for Humanity/Steffan Hacker 
MAAI MAHIU, KENYA 06/02/09 – Future Habitat homeowner Linet Gesare Maroko with her son, John. They are pictured in front of the makeshift tent she and her family, including children orphaned by her sister’s death, currently occupy. The tent is situated near the construction site of their future Habitat house (seen in background.) They have been living in a tent since their home in Narok, Kenya, was destroyed during the periods of violence in December 2007 and January 2008 that followed a disputed national election. She and her family were among the thousands forced to flee their homes as a result of the conflict. Now, they are part of a self-help group of internally displaced people (IDP) that collectively purchased land in the area in which they now live. The group is partnering with Habitat Kenya to build houses on the land. --- ©Habitat for Humanity/Steffan Hacker
MY THO, VIETNAM 12/14/08- MY THO, VIETNAM (12/14/08)-Houses crowd the banks of the Mekong River. ©Habitat for Humanity/Ezra Millstein
SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR 5/19/09- Children play in front of their family's shack, in the Las Victorias squatter community on the outskirts of the capital. --© Habitat for Humanity/Ezra Millstein
Supporting organizations for 2009 World Habitat Day include:
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Rockefeller Foundation
  • Woodrow Wilson Centre
  • Global Housing Foundation
  • CHF International
  • American Planners Association
  • International Housing Coalition
  • the Urban Institute
  • USAID, Cities Alliance
  • the World Bank
  • the US Department of Agriculture
  • the Cooperative Housing Foundation
  • the National Law Centre
  • the Mortgage Bankers Association




Did you know that your gift does much more than help families escape from unsafe, unhealthy living conditions?
You’re helping families to break the cycle of poverty and build long-term financial security. Habitat’s affordable, no-profit house payments free up money for food, child care, medicine and other necessities. And research has shown that decent housing improves health, increases children’s educational achievement and strengthens community ties.
Thanks to your support, Habitat has transformed the lives of more than 1 million people around the world! Let’s help even more!
Click here to donate now

A look back: 2008 World Habitat Day successes


  • Online advocates of Habitat for Humanity sent nearly 6,000 letters to U.S. presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama, urging them to make housing a priority in their prospective administrations. Habitat Canada sent a similar letter to Canadian candidates for prime minister.
  • Affiliates across the United States sponsored special wall-raisings; appeared on radio, TV and public education programs; hosted volunteer appreciation and recruitment events; issued World Habitat Day proclamations; and served potluck dinners and pancake breakfasts, among many other activities.
  • Habitat for Humanity Guatemala engaged government officials in conversations about poverty housing and also facilitated several advocacy training workshops.
  • Habitat’s Europe/Central Asia area office organized, planned and hosted an intensive social housing conference focused on the global state of human habitat. Sixty academics, NGO leaders and government officials took part.
  • Habitat for Humanity South Korea hosted a two-day event that included a disaster simulation for 450 participants and a Euro-Asian Philharmonic Orchestra Concert attended by 3,000 people.
  • Habitat for Humanity New Zealand held a nationwide online photography competition.
  • Habitat for Humanity Kenya exhibited Habitat’s work at the World Habitat Day celebration hosted by the Kenyan’s Ministry of Housing/UN-HABITAT.

About Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity International 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 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.5 million people. For more information, visit
Visit the Habitat for Humanity Web site
  • Habitat for Humanity’s World Habitat Day 2009 Web page
  • Ongoing advocacy information and Build Louder updates
  • World Habitat Day Handbook
  • Shelter Report: building a secure future through effective land policies
  • Washington gears up for World Habitat Day 2009
"The Place We Live"
A unique, immersive, multimedia installation from Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen, "The Places We Live" illuminates what it means to be an urban citizen in the 21st century by presenting views of twenty homes found in the fastest growing human habitat on the planet: the world's slums. The exhibition is sponsored by Canon, and its presentation at the National Building Museum through Nov. 15, is made possible by Cities Alliance, USAID, and The World Bank.

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