Shelter and Settlements (S&S) programming is a critical area of programming for IOM, with the ability to mobilise quickly during emergencies, IOM's interventions make a significant impact in saving lives and achieving or restoring adequate housing for vulnerable populations.

As one of the largest operational organisations in the S&S sector operating across diverse contexts IOM supports people affected by disasters, conflicts, and complex crises, and is a key partner on coordination mechanisms at national, regional, and global level, including in internal displacement and cross-border movement. 

Over the course of 2022, IOM reached 9.5 million crisis-affected individuals across 80 countries including in response to major emergencies in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, Afghanistan, Syria, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Somalia, Venezuela, amongst others.

IOM Shelter and Settlements interventions fall broadly within four interrelated categories:

  • Interventions that remove barriers to access fair, equitable and appropriate shelter, and settlements (e.g., supporting people access rental accommodation, advocating for their inclusion in housing programs, proving information on accommodation/housing options, strengthening security of tenure, providing financial assistance, etc)
  • Interventions that enable safe and dignified living conditions in the immediate, medium, and long-term (e.g., provision of emergency shelter in collective of individual settings, physical repairs and improvements including improved accessibility, privacy, and thermal efficiency)
  • Interventions that support undertaking daily domestic activities in and around the home with dignity (e.g., the provision of Essential Household Items for sleeping, food preparation and storage, eating and drinking, heating, cooling, lighting, and personal clothing)
  • Interventions that support secure, inclusive, and sustainable settlements that provide appropriate access to services, infrastructure and livelihood opportunities, and support health and wellbeing and life as a community. (e.g., settlement planning including in situations of acute and protracted displacement, strengthen security of tenure, development of social and physical infrastructure such as roads, paths, communal and recreational spaces, improvements to safety, accessibility, and reduction of risks)

IOM’s S&S operations are highly focused on delivering context specific and conflict sensitive support to contribute the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus (HDPN), addressing humanitarian needs while simultaneously supporting recovery, resilience, and peace-building, and long-term sustainable development.  IOM is committed to ensuring Accountability to Affected Populations, reducing protection risks, including gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse, and to ensure our work is responsive to gender, age and diversity considerations.

A major enabler of IOM’s S&S programming is strengthening Housing, Land, and Property (HLP) rights. IOM places a consistent focus on conducting due diligence and strengthening security of tenure. With specialists in several countries (e.g., South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Burundi, Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Central African Republic.) and a support team in HQ, IOM strives to mainstream HLP concerns into its programming, from emergency response to durable solutions. 

To enable timely response at scale, IOM prepositions core relief items at national and regional level as needed and in five global warehouses that enables response to immediate needs in an emergency and reduces lead time. See resources on Procurement and Logistics here.

IOM contributes to a more effective humanitarian coordination by taking leadership roles at national and regional levels (e.g. in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, R4V, Colombia, Afghanistan) providing Housing, Land and Property expertise to the Global Shelter Cluster, engaging as part of the GSC Strategic Advisory Group, and contributing to sector wide learning by leading the development of the Shelter Projects publication.

Global Shelter Cluster

IOM plays a strong role in inter-agency shelter responses. The Organization leads or supports inter-agency shelter coordination in many countries and supports coordination and is a key member of the Strategic Advisory Group of the Global Shelter Cluster.

IOM also leads global working groups on Shelter Projects, diaspora engagement, disability inclusion, and is delivering key activities of the Promoting Safer Building Working Group of the Global Shelter Cluster under the IEC Material Compendium project. IOM continues to provide critical global capacity on land tenure issues by hosting the HLP Advisor to the Global Shelter Cluster.