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Habitat for Humanity leverages advocacy and innovation to expand and advance housing solutions in communities around the world

Habitat for Humanity leverages advocacy and innovation to expand and advance housing solutions in communities around the world
PR Newswire
ATLANTA, Nov. 22, 2022

The nonprofit’s 2022 annual report highlights programs and initiatives that helped 7.1…

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Habitat for Humanity leverages advocacy and innovation to expand and advance housing solutions in communities around the world

PR Newswire

The nonprofit's 2022 annual report highlights programs and initiatives that helped 7.1 million people gain greater access to safe, decent and affordable housing

ATLANTA, Nov. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A concrete floor is a measure of safety, comfort, employment and empowerment for homeowner María Natalia of San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala. With it, she knows that her 2-year-old daughter can toddle around and play without fear of the major health hazards that come along with a dirt floor, which is still the reality for 6% of households across Latin America and the Caribbean. María Natalia, who kneels on the floor as she weaves cloth in her home to earn a living, can also now avoid inhaling dust and feeling small stones grinding into her skin as she works.

This year, she and her family became one of many served by a new initiative launched by Habitat for Humanity in partnership with the Inter-American Cement Federation to install 100,000 concrete floors across the region by 2028. Her story and the "100,000 floors to play on" initiative are documented in Habitat's fiscal year 2022 annual report, released today by the global housing nonprofit, which also highlights Habitat's role as innovator, partner and catalyst for increasing access to affordable, safe and decent housing around the world.

In 2022, Habitat for Humanity helped more than 7.1 million people build or improve a place to call home. An additional 5 million people gained the potential to improve their housing conditions through training programs and advocacy work fueled by Habitat in local communities. Habitat also contributed to successful policy and system changes that improved access to adequate and affordable housing in 14 countries.

"This year, our staff, supporters, volunteers and advocates demonstrated an unwavering sense of duty and dedication to our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live," said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. "It is this steadfast faith, persistence and drive that compel us to innovate and grow in ways that foster greater access to the opportunity we all need and deserve. The incredible work we've been able to accomplish this year, despite economic uncertainty roiled by an ongoing pandemic, war abroad and increasingly severe weather events, is a critical reminder that no matter what, we will find a way home."

With the continued support of Habitat's generous partners and donors, and a transformational gift from American author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, Habitat piloted innovative new programs and expanded others that address the most pressing housing challenges of our time.

The growing impact of climate change continues to disproportionally impact socially and economically vulnerable populations, especially those living in informal settlements and substandard housing. Recognizing this, Habitat called for a multilateral mitigation and adaptation approach that protects communities and natural habitats, embraces cost-effective carbon mitigation solutions in built environments, and promotes long-term commitments to disaster recovery efforts.

Habitat's Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter continues to be a leader in market-based solutions through its support of innovative housing products, services and financing. In 2022, for example, the Terwilliger Center helped form the Artificial Sand Manufacturers Welfare Association in India's Tamil Nadu state to ensure that the rapid growth of manufactured sand facilities does not compromise the quality of the resource. Manufactured sand serves as a sustainable, high-quality alternative to river sand. Though river sand is the preferred raw material for concrete filling, the mining process can devastate aquatic ecosystems, dry up waterways, and ultimately, deplete this natural resource.

Habitat also deepened its commitment to increasing homeownership opportunities for Black individuals and families through new and existing programs designed to help close the growing racial homeownership gap in the U.S. The organization also launched a strategic framework for diversity, equity and inclusion to better foster and ensure a diverse workforce and inclusive culture. Additionally, Habitat's newly opened Africa area office will help intentionally scale and promote housing solutions that address that region's most pressing needs.

Responding to natural and human-caused disasters is a recurring focus in Habitat's work, as reflected in the report. In February, millions of refugees fleeing war in Ukraine found themselves in need of safe shelter across neighboring Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. Habitat stepped up to meet the needs of the displaced by distributing emergency travel kits and helping families secure short-, mid- and long-term accommodations. Today the organization continues to provide shelter-related services to refugees in each country and in Germany.

"None of this could have been possible without the more than 700,000 volunteers who helped build, advocate and raise awareness about the global need for shelter in the past year," Reckford said. "To all of you, we are so incredibly grateful for your support and passion for the mission."

The FY2022 annual report also provides detailed information about Habitat for Humanity International's activities and financials for the period between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, along with the network of Habitat affiliates in all 50 states in the U.S. and national programs in more than 70 countries.

In fiscal year 2022, Habitat reported US$449 million in revenue, along with an estimated US$2.1 billion in total revenue through the organization's federated network of Habitat organizations in the U.S. and around the world. The audited financial statements are published alongside the annual report at habitat.org/about/annual-reports-990s.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in south Georgia. Since its founding in 1976, the Christian housing organization has grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

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SOURCE Habitat for Humanity International

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New technology is now the beating heart of patient care

Patient care and healthcare provision have always appeared among society’s top priorities, but keeping people well came into
The post New technology…

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Patient care and healthcare provision have always appeared among society’s top priorities, but keeping people well came into sharp focus during the pandemic.

So, too, did the role of pharmaceutical companies – not least how amazing advances in medical science could help the world combat Covid, but also how the sector was remunerated for its efforts.

As we seek to move beyond the difficulties of the past few years, pharma firms now have the chance to make further advances and bring innovation to market and, in the process, gain competitive edge over their rivals.

The race is on

With an abundance of patient data to hand – GDPR compliance permitting – and cutting-edge technology to aid the development and delivery of new products, the race is on to escalate and improve patient care with solutions that can truly make a difference.

Patients aren’t blind to the tech-driven changes going on around them. We’ve been using wearable technology for decades already. Acceleration of this market really kicked in 20 years ago, when devices from Bluetooth headsets to smart watches came on-stream. Ever since, we seem to have been glued to screens to understand more about ourselves, tapping apps that promise to monitor everything from self-care to Circadian rhythms.

Wearables are becoming breakout technology in the pharma space, too. Biospace estimates the market for these types of devices that add to the patient care toolkit will grow from today’s $21.3bn to $196.5bn by 2030.

In effect, the possibilities are endless. We already have access to devices that monitor our heart rate and alert first responders if sensors detect a health crisis like a stroke or heart attack. Similar technology could be rolled out across society, accelerating critical treatment times.

Emergency response is the tip of the iceberg. All of the data produced by wearables – from blood sugar levels to monitoring changes in the menstrual cycle – can automatically be passed to frontline healthcare organisations, enabling professionals to read and appropriately respond.

Such tech is just one example of an area that is ripe with opportunity for pharma businesses. But there are lots of other exciting developments at our fingertips.

Biosimilars get the sector’s blood pumping

During the past few years, interest has been growing in biosimilars. If you’re unaware of these types of drugs, the NHS describes them as: “Biological medicines that have been shown not to have any clinical meaningful differences from the originator medicine in terms of quality, safety, and efficacy.”

Biosimilars are therefore biological medicines that are highly similar to another version already licensed for use, and they are now being recommended all the time. They are, of course, subject to the same NICE guidance as originator medicine it has already approved. NHS leaders believe biosimilars will create up to £300m of annual savings thanks to their speed of development, a timely saving in a challenging market that looks set to come under increasing financial pressure during the next few years.

Clinicians also note that the biosimilars market will rapidly develop and grow in complexity, since more pharma players will introduce their own treatments using these techniques. At the same time – with full patient/carer consent, it should be acknowledged – healthcare providers are beginning to offer patients biosimilar treatments, such that they should become widely recognised and hopefully accepted in short order.

Patients will experience biosimilars in different ways. For example, my own experience of biosimilars has been to help a global pharma company launch a biosimilar autoimmune drug. The really smart part about this development is the wider use of technology it taps into.

An app was developed so that patient symptoms could be monitored – for example, their baseline health indicators checked and logged, and dietary and exercise advice offered – and adjustments to the drug dose made accordingly by their healthcare provider.

Meanwhile, reading patient data and symptoms using this method will become commonplace. For the patient, constant improvements and updates to associated apps will present them with a slick interface to keep tabs on their own condition and ease access to support.

The wide-ranging benefits of tech-driven treatment

Of course, generations of patients have become used to traditional treatment methods. Whenever there is change it often happens slowly and people need to be persuaded about the benefits of such an evolution.

It’s useful to pause and summarise the reasons why different types of technology are now so important to developments in the pharma and healthcare sectors. Expressing its benefits can help win the hearts and minds of millions of patients the world over:

  • Constant ability to monitor symptoms – including emergency alerts
  • New interaction methods for healthcare providers and patients
  • Better control of treatment plans, including long-term care
  • Overall, a promise of quicker and more efficient service delivery

As mentioned, apps will be one of the main interfaces where this new type of professional-patient relationship takes place. According to a survey by NEJM Catalyst, a majority (60%) of clinicians and healthcare industry leaders believe effective patient engagement makes a serious impact on the quality of care, and can substantially decrease the costs in the system.

Anything that can be done to cure this problem must surely be viewed as a positive. A patient engagement app that improves the experience for physicians and patients is a valuable tool.

Digital tools augment the benefits of medical products, such as by the aforementioned remote monitoring features with the ability to collect important patient data. Overall, mobile patient engagement promises better efficiency for pharma firms’ treatments, doctors, clinics, medical associations, and the whole industry in general.

Pharma giants such as Pfizer, Merck & Co., and Novartis are actively equipping their representatives with innovative digital tools to strengthen their credibility and relevance, reconnect with target audiences, and improve the infrastructure around medical products.

The creation and provision of efficient medical apps for professionals contributes to wider efforts to overhaul treatment programmes.

Digital can be a cure-all for lack of awareness or understanding among patients about their conditions and what they can do to alleviate symptoms. It can also drive better communication between doctors and patients by removing red tape from the process, while maintaining compliance with medical regulations. And it can build efficiency into often overwrought systems, particularly the densely populated urban areas and underserved rural communities that are under the most pressure for different reasons.

Simply by providing apps that drive patient engagement and improve their experience of treatment and healthcare provision, user trust grows. Healthcare apps can be built for patients with a deep level of personalisation, with user-friendly and agile design to suit a wide range of demographic groups. And that’s really the heart of the matter.

Why connecting with the end user matters

Mass adoption of new technology-driven medicines, treatments, and healthcare services will only stand if patients – and therefore their healthcare providers – feel comfortable that this new wave will change their outcomes for the better.

Two elements are critical to society feeling comfortable: technology and communication. That means building and using platforms, from patient apps to portals for healthcare professionals that display information and advice from pharma providers.

By connecting the dots between the pharma companies using cutting-edge platforms for innovative drug delivery, their healthcare markets, and the patients who professionals exist to support we can create a virtuous circle.

Patients will play their own part in the healthcare delivery revolution and provide their data in real-time as part of a feedback loop that the pharma industry can use to refine and invent treatment.

Whether you work in pharma or frontline healthcare delivery, there is no doubt that tech innovation can – and must – be the beating heart of patient services and treatment. You only need to consider the advances it has helped other markets make. For example, observe how smarter use of customer data has shaken up the energy market, allowing consumers to take control by switching to a more suitable option in a few short clicks.

Then consider the wider advertising industry, which has evolved from mass TV marketing to one-to-one, personalised messaging, drawing on data and technology as its fuel.

It’s in this context that we should view the future of pharma and healthcare provision. Technology and the data it delivers can drive drug development, but also the use of medicine in ongoing patient care.

Health tech investment is set to swell as the private and public sectors join forces for the benefit of society at large, and patient demand for innovation in diagnosis and treatment increases. There has never been a better time for pharma leaders to consider new ways to deliver smart, efficient treatments – driven by technology that provides a platform for new medicines and user adoption.

About the author

Rachel Grigg, partnership director at LABS (part of Initials CX), has worked in digital technology for the past 25 years and has seen and been involved with the advent of digital transformation first-hand. Her roles have varied from working in large corporate companies designing technical products to being MD and COO helping small digital agencies grow and succeed.

The post New technology is now the beating heart of patient care appeared first on .

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Remote-Work Revolution Has Wiped Out $453 Billion In Commercial Real Estate Value

Remote-Work Revolution Has Wiped Out $453 Billion In Commercial Real Estate Value

Leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic, roughly 95% of commercial…

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Remote-Work Revolution Has Wiped Out $453 Billion In Commercial Real Estate Value

Leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic, roughly 95% of commercial office space was occupied across the United States, according to US National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) – a nonprofit, non-government organization. By March 2020, occupancy plummeted to 10%, and has only recovered to 47%, according to a new NBER report which claims $453 billion in office commercial real estate value has been wiped out in an "office real estate apocalypse."

Around the US, that resulted in a 17.5 percent decrease in lease revenue between January 2020, and May 2022, and not only because fewer offices were being occupied, but also because those that are being rented are going for shorter terms, lower prices per month, and a lot less floor space is needed as staff are told they can work from home for most or all the week.

Prior to the pandemic, 253 million square feet were rented per year; as of May 2022, just 59 million square feet had been rented, NBER's data indicates. "This indicates a massive drop in office demand from tenants who are actively making space decisions," NBER said. -The Register

What's more, while vacancy rates have hit a 30-year high, 61.7% of in-force commercial leases haven't come up for renewal since the pandemic - meaning that "rents may not have bottomed out yet."

What this means is that commercial real estate - a popular choice for pension fund managers and investors alike - may not be the best idea for the foreseeable future, given the continuing work-from-home options adopted by corporate America.

A common method used to invest in office real estate is commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), which are managed and traded via commercial mortgage-backed indexes (CMBX) made up of pools of CMBSes. 

According to NBER, more recent CMBXes tend to include a higher percentage of office collateral than earlier vintages. Those newer, office-heavy CMBXes, NBER said, are what's losing the most money. -The Register

NBER says that in 2019, commercial real estate assets topped $4.7 trillion - offices being the largest component.

Read the report below:

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/08/2022 - 19:20

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Hotels: Occupancy Rate Down 7.7% Compared to Same Week in 2019

From CoStar: STR: US Hotel Occupancy Starts December Lower Than Pre-Pandemic WeekU.S. hotel performance came in higher than the previous week but showed weakened comparisons to 2019, according to STR‘s latest data through Dec. 3.Nov. 27 through Dec. 3,…

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U.S. hotel performance came in higher than the previous week but showed weakened comparisons to 2019, according to STR‘s latest data through Dec. 3.

Nov. 27 through Dec. 3, 2022 (percentage change from comparable week in 2019*):

Occupancy: 55.4% (-7.7%)
• Average daily rate (ADR): $141.71 (+10.2%)
• Revenue per available room (RevPAR): $78.50 (+1.7%)

*Due to the pandemic impact, STR is measuring recovery against comparable time periods from 2019.
emphasis added
The following graph shows the seasonal pattern for the hotel occupancy rate using the four-week average.

Click on graph for larger image.

The red line is for 2022, black is 2020, blue is the median, and dashed light blue is for 2021.  Dashed purple is 2019 (STR is comparing to a strong year for hotels).

The 4-week average of the occupancy rate is above the median rate for the previous 20 years (Blue) and close to 2019 levels.

Note: Y-axis doesn't start at zero to better show the seasonal change.

The 4-week average of the occupancy rate continue to decline into the Winter.

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