Our homes are a part of life that many of us may take for granted. At SFL, we believe that shelters are the foundation for a thriving and stable society. We have found that shelters offer hope to displaced families and create a haven of physical, emotional, and social safety. Shelters are also a stepping-stone to rebuilding lives and a livelihood and provide a platform for launching home-based businesses. Shelter creates community in ways that all other humanitarian efforts cannot.
SFL has been addressing the need for shelter through the construction of both transitional and permanent homes in countries uprooted by conflict and disaster. SFL provides beneficiaries with the training, tools, and materials necessary to build their own homes. Beneficiary households have the primary responsibility for constructing their shelters and provide all unskilled labor and some materials. SFL supplies the majority of construction materials, which are purchased locally whenever available.
When shelters are urgently needed and there is inadequate time to construct permanent shelters, SFL enables beneficiaries to build durable transitional shelters. These shelters are temporary in nature, but utilize basic materials which can be reused in the construction of a permanent home in the future. Transitional shelters provide immediate relief to untenable living situations while offering a sustainable, long-term benefit. They are preferable to the use of tents, which are temporary and not able to withstand prolonged use over time.
Most SFL shelter projects consist of building permanent, durable shelters that utilize local architecture and simple designs that are able to better withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters. Construction materials vary from country to country depending on local culture and customs, but common materials include handmade mud bricks, concrete blocks, tin sheeting, wood, and clay tiles. Houses are largely constructed by the beneficiary family with support, training, tools, and materials supplied by SFL.