Conference Cause

This year, Berkeley Model United Nations is excited to announce a partnership with Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley with the goal of empowering underprivileged communities by providing affordable and sustainable housing.

The Bay Area housing market continues to be one of the most expensive and least affordable in the country. A recent study found that fewer than 23% of families in the areas serviced by Habitat EBSV can afford a “median-priced home.” It is almost impossible for low-income families to find affordable, decent housing in the Bay Area.

Habitat EBSV builds affordable homes using volunteer labor, donated materials, and donated funds. These homes are sold to qualifying low-income families at affordable prices. These prices are calculated based on the families’ income, making them affordable and much lower than market value. The mortgage payments are then reinvested by Habitat EBSV to build more homes in the future. Besides being affordable, Habitat houses are also sustainable. Habitat houses are built using a comprehensive green designed aimed at taking better care of the environment and Habitat homeowners.

Habitat EBSV also aims to build strong communities. Habitat families receive training in financial literacy and management, and continue to receive support after they have moved into their new homes. Habitat homeowners also receive training in leadership development and other important skills that allow them to organize their community and tackle issues that affect their whole neighborhood. This way, Habitat EBSV aims to improve the quality of life and empower not just Habitat homeowners, but also their whole neighborhood.

Home Construction and Repair
Habitat EBSV not only builds home from the ground up, but they also renovate foreclosed and bank-owned, abandoned homes. Habitat EBSV also has a Home Repair Program in which volunteers make repairs to existing homes. This program helps revitalize neighborhoods and empowers low-income homeowners as they participate through “sweat equity.” This program helps improve the quality of life of many people, including veterans, by making critical home repairs to alleviate health, accessibility, and safety issues.

Neighborhood Revitalization
Habitat EBSV has a “Neighborhood Revitalization Imitative,” which brings communities and local partners together to “change the face of neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life for all the families who live there.” This project includes improving pedestrian infrastructure and cleaning up graffiti, as well as organizing coalitions that focus on community safety and neighborhood clean up.

How to get involved:
During conference weekend, BMUN will once again be passing around donation jars in committee to support Habitat EBSV. The best way to help now is to raise awareness about Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley and volunteer if possible. Below are links to their webpage and social media pages.

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