World Habitat Day brings awareness to housing insecurity

Volunteers celebrate all of their hard work across the nation.
Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 1:15 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Habitat for Humanity estimates that 1 in 11 South Dakotans are spending more than half of their income on housing. The organization is hoping to bring awareness to housing insecurity with World Habitat Day.

The celebration started in 1986 and creates an opportunity for Habitat for Humanity to shine a spotlight on issues in housing that people may not be aware of.

Access to affordable housing has been an ongoing problem in the Black Hills area with Habitat for Humanity estimating the area still needs about 3500 affordable homes to meet the need.

Their executive director says owning a home can be the motivator some people need to pursue other interests.

“Getting that home is a huge accomplishment and then it’s where do I go from here? What’s the next challenge I can take on, how else can I succeed in life? Sometimes education is one of those things that people put off or maybe a little intimidated to do,” said Scott Engmann, the Executive Director of Black Hills Habitat for Humanity.

Engmann says Habitat for Humanity is planning to build a neighborhood in Rapid City that will provide up to 50 affordable houses. This is one of the reasons Rapid City’s mayor proclaimed Monday, Oct. 2, World Habitat Day for the city.

“This is something we want to bring attention to, and in this case, it’s affordable housing, and obviously, the work that organizations like Habitat do to meet those needs, we obviously cheer them on,” said Jason Salamun, Rapid City Mayor.

World Habitat Day also focuses on ways cities across the world can be prepared for recovery after a negative global humanitarian or economic shock. That’s according to the United Nations.

Box Elder, Custer, Deadwood, Hot Springs, Spearfish, and Sturgis also proclaimed Oct. 2 as World Habitat Day.