City Council declares October “Habitat Month”

Olivia Marshall

World Habitat Day occurs worldwide on the first Monday in October. This day is focused on policies, posing the question: How can government locally and internationally address housing issues? 

Topeka Habitat for Humanity is one of many affiliate organizations that functions independently under Habitat International. Topeka Habitat not only provides homes to families, but also focuses on strengthening the community.

Policies exist around the world to promote safe, affordable housing for families, which could mean something different, depending on the country. The United Nations works on solutions to improve lives with policies that address those issues.

Nikki MacMillan is the volunteer coordinator at Topeka Habitat. In past years, the organization has grown in its capacity to build houses and improve the community.

“It is really important for our community. We are lucky we have a very supportive city council and mayor,” MacMillan said.

Every year, the Topeka City Council and mayor sign a proclamation for Topeka Habitat, showing that safe and affordable housing is very important to city officials and the residents they represent. This year, the city council named the month of October “Habitat Month” to draw more awareness to Topeka Habitat’s need for volunteers.

“Even though we are an established organization in town, our needs continue to grow,” MacMillan said.

Volunteers are not only needed in house construction. Volunteers are also utilized in ReStore, a retail outlet that accepts donated building materials, which are then sold to the public at reduced price. ReStore functions as Topeka Habitat’s greatest fundraiser, since the revenue generated is used to construct houses.

Topeka Habitat relies on donations from contractors, business partners and donors from the community to fulfill their mission. Even small donations make a huge difference.

Elizabeth Beal, freshman, is a student worker at the ReStore. She helps on the receiving end of donated items by organizing the store and assisting with purchases. Working at a non-profit organization is something she likes to do, because of its positive effects in the community.

“I really enjoy working at the ReStore…it always makes me feel good knowing I’m helping an organization with a great cause,” said Beal.

Washburn University has donated to ReStore during numerous recent on campus construction projects. Donated items have included old fixtures and furniture. The rebuild has had a great impact on ReStore, and one way Topeka Habitat will show gratitude is by walking in the Homecoming Parade.

The Washburn Law Program is one of several Washburn organizations that has a long-running relationship with Topeka Habitat. Students from the program sign up and volunteer with Habitat every year at building sites, which run Monday through Saturday and can host up to 10 volunteers.

To schedule a group volunteer session, or find out more about helping at ReStore, visit or call (785) 234-4322.

ReStore is located at 29th and Topeka Blvd, in the Holliday Square Shopping Center. Photo by Olivia Marshall