A home away from home

We are a social enterprise with a mission to improve the lives of forcibly displaced persons by providing affordable temporary shelter and a dignified, safer life away from home.

Better Shelter RHU AB is a humanitarian innovation project and a social enterprise based in Stockholm, Sweden. Being owned by a philanthropic foundation, our success is measured on achieved social impact – not financial results.

Better Shelter exists for the sole purpose of improving the living conditions of forcibly displaced men, women and children. We are dedicated to change the lives of those who have been forced to flee, by providing safer and more dignified temporary homes. We strive for a world in which all people have a safe place to call home. 

On a yearly basis we track the number of households for which we have provided shelter, as well as how many units have been implemented for other purposes than temporary housing, which may include clinics, classrooms and humanitarian staff accommodation.

Key achievements 2019

  • We delivered 15,625 shelters shelters to 23 countries
  • We established 6 new partners

The project, initiated in 2010 in partnership between Better Shelter, the IKEA Foundation and UNHCR, was rolled out on a large scale in 2015.

Since then, we have provided more than 60,000 shelters in refugee camps, transit sites and emergency response programs in 60 countries in Europe, Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia.

The units are used not only as temporary shelter but also serve as communal infrastructure such as clinics, classrooms and child friendly spaces.

Collaboration and continuous innovation drive us forward. Working side by side with partners around the world gives us the valuable opportunity to monitor quality, to understand partners’ shelter requirements and to keep developing the design based on real needs. We believe that effective and sensible shelter response requires both locally- and globally-made shelter solutions to address different context specific needs in protracted crises and emergencies around the world.

Year in Review 2019

UN Global Compact Communication on Progress report 18/19

How we work


The Better Shelter has been developed over several years together with humanitarians, academic institutions and design practitioners, suppliers and experts in various fields. It has been rigorously tried and tested in the field as well as in labs to ensure compliance with Sphere standards and resistance to years’ of use in harsh weather conditions.

We develop our products according to real circumstances with context specific requirements in mind. Better Shelter collaborates closely with partners and supports them in determining the best suitability and application of our solutions. Further, we work together in the planning phase of implementations, where we provide expertise in the use and suitability of the Better Shelter units.

Better Shelter offers training and support to ensure safe and effective assembly and maintenance of the shelters before, during and after the implementation of a program. We help our partners increase their capacity and optimise their available resources, in order to ensure as many people as possible receive the shelter they need, as quickly as possible.

Working side by side with our partners around the world also gives us the valuable opportunity to monitor quality, understand our partners’ shelter requirements in their operations and to both gather and offer feedback on the assembly and use of our shelters. By supporting our partners in quick, efficient and correct assembly of our shelters, we help the humanitarian community to maximise its potential in offering shelter to displaced persons. Our product team continues to refine the solution and work on future improvements in close collaboration with aid and development partners.

UN Global Compact Communication on Progress report 18/19