TORONTO, Oct. 1, 2012 /CNW/ - In recognition of United Nations designated World Habitat Day, Habitat for Humanity Toronto (www.torontohabitat.ca) is releasing a groundbreaking report, "Building a Better City: The Social Impact of Habitat for Humanity Homes in Toronto," highlighting how affordable homeownership has impacted low-income families.
At a 9:00am press conference at Queen's Park Neil Hetherington, CEO of Habitat for Humanity along with Gillian Bartlett of Bartlett Cultural Connections and Charles Gagnon of BPG Analytics will present the findings of a study revealing how homeownership contributes to a family's well-being in health and education as well as to the strength of their communities.
"The results are astounding," says Habitat for Humanity Toronto CEO Neil Hetherington. "Not only did homeowners report improvements in physical space, health, safety and security in their new homes, they also revealed significant changes in family dynamics, social integration, pride and confidence."
One key finding from the report reveals that affordable homeownership opens doors for low-income youth, with 76% of respondents reporting an improvement in children's school grades; 88% reporting greater confidence, and 81% reporting improvement in their social lives. More significantly, 98.7% of Habitat homeowners' children presently under the age of nineteen are still in school.
Additionally, the report highlights a strong sense of community amongst the homeowners. 97% of families feel pride in their new home and are no longer reluctant to tell people where they live. As a natural corollary to their pride in homeownership, 72% of survey respondents report an increase in neighbourly ties and an overwhelming 135% increase in inviting people over to their homes. 92% of respondents say that they will remain in their Habitat homes for a very long time or can't imagine ever moving.
About World Habitat Day:
Officially designated by the United Nations in 1985, the purpose of World Habitat Day is to bring global attention to the need for better shelter around the world, to let it be known that affordable, adequate housing should be a priority everywhere, and to change the systems, policies, and attitudes that lead to poverty housing. This year's theme, "Many Homes, One Community" will call attention to the pivotal role housing has in the progression of a neighbourhood.
Mayor Rob Ford has proclaimed October 1 as World Habitat Day in the City of Toronto and Councillor Ana Bailão, chair of the City of Toronto's affordable housing committee, will present the Mayoral Proclamation to Habitat for Humanity Toronto at the press conference.
A Family Receives Their Keys on World Habitat Day:
World Habitat Day will also mark Habitat Toronto's Ritchie Dedication Ceremony, during which Lorena Sinato and her son Bryan will be presented with keys to their new home at 96 Ritchie Avenue at 5:00 pm. Located in Toronto's west-end, the three-bedroom, fully-accessible home will provide the space Lorena needs to care for 9-year-old son Bryan, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy and is legally blind.
As a single mother of a son living with disabilities, Lorena's challenges were exacerbated by living in a poorly-kept, high-rise building. "Bryan requires extra space for his equipment to help him live a full life. When the elevators are not working—as is often the case in our building—we have to carry him up six flights of stairs," Lorena explains. She is excited to become a homeowner with Habitat for Humanity Toronto, and to start this new chapter in their lives. "I am going to be able to give Bryan a real home with all the space he deserves."
|i.||What:||Habitat for Humanity Toronto World Habitat Day Press Conference|
|Where:||Media Studio Queen's Park, Room 148 (Journalists who are not members of the Queen's Park Press Gallery are asked to report to Room 387A of the Legislative Building for passes, or call Gerald Christopher at 416-325-7922)|
|When:||Monday, October 1, 9:00 am - 10:00 am|
|Who:||Ana Bailão, City Councillor and Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee, Ward 18|
|Neil Hetherington, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Toronto|
|Gillian Bartlett, BA, MEd, PhD, Bartlett Cultural Connections|
|Charles Gagnon, Principal, BPG Analytics|
|ii.||What:||Ritchie Dedication Ceremony|
|Where:||96 Ritchie Ave. (Dundas St. West & Bloor St. West)|
|When:||5:00 pm - 6:00 pm|
|Who:||Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo, MPP for Parkdale-High Park|
|Gord Perks, City Councillor, Ward 14, Parkdale-High Park|
|Peggy Nash, Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park|
|Sinato family and dozens of volunteers and supporters.|
|iii.||What:||CN Tower lights up blue and green|
|When:||approximately 7:00 pm (dusk)|
***Media are invited to attend and interviews will be available***
Go to www.torontohabitat.ca/2012report to view the full "Building a Better City" report.
Please visit www.torontohabitat.ca for more information on Habitat for Humanity Toronto.
SOURCE: Habitat for Humanity Toronto
For further information:
For more information or media requests, please contact:
Joanna M. Dwyer, Marketing & Stakeholder Relations Associate
Habitat for Humanity Toronto
T: 416-755-7353 ext. 259 C: 416-708-6481 E: email@example.com
Neil Hetherington, CEO
Habitat for Humanity Toronto
T: 416-755-7353 ext.223 C: 416-436-4190 E: firstname.lastname@example.org