Each year on the first Monday of October, World Habitat Day is internationally observed. The United Nations’ (UN) created this day of observance in 1985 to help spread awareness around affordable housing options in urban settings for homeless people around the world. In addition to spreading online awareness, participants contribute to policy dialogue as well as participate in activities and events in public spaces.

One trait that makes World Habitat Day so unique is the annual change in theme. Over the past twenty years, themes have included:

  • Sustainable Energy and Transport
  • Healthy Air Quality
  • Clean, Sanitated Drinking Water
  • Better Waste Management

On 10/02/2017 the theme for World Habitat Day is “Housing Policies: Affordable Homes.” Globally, 50 million people become urban-dwelling resident’s year after year. As a result, housing, food, and clothing costs rise, often pricing families out of their local communities. Poorly regulated real estate markets and land management policies will be reviewed extensively throughout this year’s discussion. With most cities worldwide facing similar issues, a plan should be developed as quickly as possible.

An additional trait making World Habitat Day unique is its prestigious “Habitat Scroll of Honour” award. This award was created in 1989 by the UN to specifically highlight contributions in the various fields surrounding the development of affordable housing. Awards recipients include the following among others:

  • Individuals
  • Academic and Research institutions
  • Public and Private Foundations
  • Government and Inter-Governmental Organizations

Security of Tenure, Habitability, and Accessibility are other leading topics this year. As with years prior, UN leaders are hoping for more engagement than ever before. There are plenty of resources available to help prepare for World Habitat Day 2017. For local events contact your nearest Habitat for Humanity. For more general information visit: https://unhabitat.org/world-habitat-day/