Healthabitat wins World Habitat Award

October 3, 2011

Healthabitat’s Housing for Health program to receive 2011 award in Mexico to mark World Habitat Day.

Australian not-for-profit organisation, Healthabitat, will be recognised with a 2011 World Habitat Award in recognition of its work improving the living environments of Australia’s indigenous communities.

Healthabitat’s Housing for Health program, first initiated in 1985, works to improve the health of the Indigenous population in Australia by ensuring they have access to safe and well-functioning housing. The not-for-profit organisation works with the local communities to repair existing homes and train local people in basic maintenance skills, and also initiates a broad range of applied, practical research projects to improve living environments.

Since 1999, 184 Housing for Health projects have been carried out across Australia, improving the condition and function of over 7,300 houses – impacting over 40,000 indigenous people. The data gathered by the Housing for Health research informs the National Indigenous Housing Guide, now an essential design guide used for the construction and refurbishment of indigenous housing. The Nine Healthy Living Practices pioneered by the project are also currently part of federal and state government policy.

The organisation is run by three directors: architect Paul Pholeros, thoracic physician Dr. Paul Torzillo and public and environmental health officer Stephan Rainow.

Healthabitat has been selected as one of two recipients of the 2011 World Habitat Awards, which are presented by the Building and Social Housing Foundation to recognise practical and innovative solutions to current housing needs and problems. The second recipient is the Community Programme for Neighbourhood Improvement, a community-driven, publicly funded initiative to improve public spaces in informal settlements and low-income neighbourhoods of Mexico.

Established by the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF) as part of its contribution to the United Nations International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, the World Habitat Awards were first presented in 1986 and celebrate their 25th year in 2011.

The Awards will be presented at the United Nations global celebration of World Habitat Day – Monday 3 October – in Mexico.

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