Shelter Solutions

Refugees and others of concern to UNHCR have the right to adequate shelter - to protection from the elements, to a space in which they can live and store belongings, and to privacy, comfort and emotional security. A shelter is a habitable covered living space that provides a secure and healthy living environment with privacy and dignity in order to benefit from protection from the elements, space to live and store belongings as well as privacy, comfort and emotional support. Shelter programmes generally involve a mix of sheltering solutions such as kits, plastic sheeting, tents, and cash assistance. Shelter is likely to be one of the most important determinates of general living conditions and is often one of the significant items of non-recurring expenditure. While the basic need for shelter is similar in most emergencies, such considerations as the kind of shelter needed, what materials and design to use, who constructs them and how long must they last will differ significantly in each situation. Where persons of concern are located will also impact the response; dense urban areas have specific characteristics and therefore the shelter solutions may differ from rural areas. Emergency shelter needs are best met by using the same materials or shelter as would be normally used by the refugees or the local population. Shelter responses should be adapted to take account of the local context and climate, cultural practices and habits, local skills, and available construction materials.