• Thank you for your support in 2021

    Together with our partners we have been able to support thousands of forcibly displaced people and offered them a space to learn new things, to recover from difficult memories and simply be together in safety.


The Relief Housing Unit (RHU)

PV system

A solar panel provides power to a portable lamp with a USB port.



The four ventilations on the top gable panels comprise an outer frame, a slide-open hatch and a mosquito net.



The galvanised steel frame is the unit’s load bearing structure. It is modular, self-supported and intended to be clad with the unit’s panels.



The four windows comprise an outer frame, a hatch that can be tilted and opened, and a mosquito net.


Flat packed

The shelter is delivered in two flat packed boxes. The total weight of one packed unit is 160 kg = 1.14 m3 (2.02 m x 1.09 m x 0.52 m).


Lockable door

The door is lockable from the inside and outside and can be secured with a standard padlock.


Ground anchoring

The frame foundation is secured with ten ground anchors.



The walls and roof comprise four types of overlapping 5mm thick polyolefin panels: roof panels, wall panels, top gable panels and lower gable panels.


Floor sheet

The floor sheet is made out of high-density polyethylene fibres.



Frequently asked questions and answers about Relief Housing Unit (RHU)

The RHU is 17.5 m2 and designed to host 5 persons with 3.5 m2 covered living space per person, in line with the Sphere minimum standards. Shelter dimensions are (L) 5.68 m x (W) 3.32 m x (H) 2.83 m.

One shelter is delivered in two packages, which together weigh 162 kg and measure 1.11 m3. Box A measures 1990x1090x230 mm (88 kg) and box B measures 1990x1090x280 mm (74 kg).

Yes. The shelter can be disassembled, re-packed, moved and re-assembled. Disassembly takes about 2 hours and requires a team of minimum four people. The boxes must be handled with care and stored in dry conditions if to be used again.

The roof and wall panels are made of polyolefin foam treated with UV protection. The frame consists of lightweight galvanised steel pipes. Screws, bolts and brackets used to attach the envelope to the frame are made of plastic.

The shelter is wind and rain resistant. You can find more information about the Better Shelter's performances on our product page.

Most components are produced in Northern Europe, with the exception of a few small components that are made in China. Our long‐term objective is to establish production operations as close to the end user as possible.

The current price of a Better Shelter is €1150.

The shelter’s expected lifespan is three years with basic maintenance, depending on climate conditions and maintenance. One can also easily replace parts of the shelter in the event of any damage. The shelter frame can be upgraded with local material further on, and may be turned into a more durable shelter.

Yes. While it was developed as a temporary family housing unit primarily, partners are using the shelters for several purposes besides accommodation: first aid clinics, storage space, registration centres, child friendly spaces, offices, libraries, clean water distribution kiosks, and even creative labs.

Better Shelter is a social enterprise wholly owned by the philanthropic Housing for All Foundation, which was established by the IKEA Foundation.

The social enterprise Better Shelter is a development partner of the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, and the IKEA Foundation. The IKEA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Stichting INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group (INGKA Holding BV).

Better Shelter is owned by the Housing for All Foundation to ensure that the company and any profits from it are used to benefit people in need of better housing solutions, and to protect the company from focus on short-term financial gain.

Better Shelter is a social enterprise created with the sole purpose of providing housing solutions for displaced persons. It is set up as a for-profit company to allow maximum scaling of relevant housing solutions independent of any need for charitable contributions. It has no revenue objectives and any potential profits will be re-invested in the company or distributed for humanitarian purposes.