Red Cross, Amnesty, Médecins Sans Frontières. Hear those names and you know exactly who those organisations are, what they do and the people they help.
What happens when you come across BSHF? If you know us and know our work then hopefully you will have an idea of what we’re about. But that may have taken time to sink in. And for new audiences – BSHF is probably meaningless.
That’s not a good way to start a conversation. The name of any organisation should tell you who we are and what we do. Instantly.
Which is why in November we’re changing our name to World Habitat.
World Habitat will give us a fresh identity; A stronger, more clearly defined identity. World Habitat describes us, our work and our ambition far better than BSHF ever could. It also relates closely to what we are best known for – our World Habitat Awards. And it allows us to communicate more clearly and more directly to engage and inspire those we want to take action.
This has not been an overnight decision. There are dangers of losing our legacy if we’d changed without careful thought, planning and consultation. But in a world where there’s an increasing disparity between those who are well housed and those who are not, whatever we may have achieved in the past is almost immaterial.
What we’re passionate about is solving the rampant and chronic injustice of billions of people all over the world who live without a proper home. Those who live on the streets. Those who have lost their homes due to natural and unnatural disasters. And those who simply can’t afford to live where they need to.
The people who work at World Habitat will not be changing. Our core mission and purpose will not change either, but we want to be clearer about who we are and what we do.
Our peer exchanges will continue. As will our work to end street homelessness through the European End Street Homelessness Campaign that we initiated. We will continue to champion communities like Caño Martín Peña in Puerto Rico that take control of solving their own housing needs. We will continue to recognise, award and share with you the innovative, outstanding and sometimes revolutionary housing ideas, projects and programmes from across the world. Ideas like the extraordinary Liter of Light that lit up a million homes in 20 countries with low cost lights made from recycled bottles. World Habitat won’t take sides, other than with what works and what’s good – those ideas and action that have an overwhelmingly positive impact on individuals, families and communities. And we will not stop until everyone, everywhere has somewhere safe and secure to live.
As an organisation, we want to do more. We need to progress, evolve and adapt to a world that is changing faster than ever before. We must become more relevant to that world and most importantly we will achieve more than we ever have. We will bring people and ideas together – from major global institutions and national governments to grass-roots organisations and local communities. And of course, we want to make housing, not an investment, or a dream, but a right for everyone.
We hope that you will join us – World Habitat – and become part of that journey……..