S&S Planning: Assistance Options

A range of context-specific assistance options can be combined to meet the needs of affected people. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each and develop the most appropriate program. [Adapted from Sphere 2018]

You can refer to the table below or download the PDF File to save for offline reference.

Assistance Option
Reference Links
Shelter Kits Construction material, tools and fixtures needed to create or improve living space. CRS – IEC picture guide to securing poles and plastic sheeting for a simple A-frame shelter
Shelter Toolkits Construction tools and hardware needed to create or improve living space and settlement. IFRC – Shelter Toolkit Specifications- Extract pg. 54-68 (2009)
Tents Premanufactured portable shelters with a cover and a structure.

*Note: Where there is an immediate need for basic shelter CRS would typically aim to distribute materials/construct emergency shelters. This is normally more cost effective than the distribution of tents and encourages a greater sense of ownership and self-reliance. The distribution of prefabricated tents would be seen as an exceptional option where material availability for emergency shelters/rate of influx mean emergency shelter construction isn’t feasible.

Summary of Different Tent Options & Specifications

Summaries of Different Emergency Tent Options:

Shelter Cluster, IRAQ- Tent Information Note, DRAFT v01 (2017)

UN OCHA – A guide to the use and logistics of family tents in humanitarian relief (2004)

Return and Transit Support Support for affected people who choose to return to their place of origin or relocate to a new location. Such support may include a wide range of services such as providing transport, transport fares or vouchers, or items such as tools, materials and seed stocks.
Repairs Describes restoring a building from damage or decay to a sound working condition, where it meets the required standards and specifications.  Applies to minor damage. CRS – Technical Guidance for repairs following typhoon Haiyan: Details build back better options and tools and templates for implementation
Retrofitting Involves strengthening and/or structural system modification of the buildings’ structure. The goal is to make a building more resistant to future hazards by having safety features installed. BuildChange – USAID

Seismic Retrofit of Housing in Post-Disaster Situations: Basic Engineering Principles for Development Professionals

Host Assistance Supporting the host to continue to shelter affected people includes support to expand or adapt an existing host family shelter, or financial and material support for running costs. CRS –  Lessons and Recommendations for a Host Family Approach in Transitional Shelter and Settlements


IFRC – Assisting host families and communities after crises and natural disaster A step-by step guide (2012)

Coming Soon

Rental Assistance Assistance to affected households to rent accommodation and land can include financial contributions, support to obtain a fair agreement or advice on property standards.  Rent is an ongoing expense, thus plan for exit strategies. CRS Case Study Rental Assistance for Syrian Refugees in Jordan
Temporary Shelters Intended to be removed once the next stage of shelter solution is offered.
Transitional Shelters Rapid shelters designed from materials and techniques that could transition into more permanent structures. The shelter should be upgradeable, reusable, re-saleable or moveable from temporary sites to permanent locations. CRS – Manual de Construcción De Albergues Respuesta Humanitaria, Manabí – Esmeraldas, Ecuador (2017)

CRS – Transitional shelter design drawing – Philippines (2015)


Caritas Antilles – Transitional shelter design drawing (2017)

Core Housing Housing units planned, designed and constructed to be eventually part of a permanent house but not completing it. Core housing allows the future process of extension.
Reconstruction or Rebuilding Structures that cannot be repaired or retrofitted and require to be built anew. Architecture for Humanity, Concern & CRS – Grand Ravine Diagnostic Report and Community Development Plan Technical and Participatory Report (Draft)-  Section 6 (2014)
Information Centers Offer advice and guidance to affected people: technical, administrative, legal and accountability.
Legal and Administrative Expertise Helps the affected people to be aware of their rights and to receive the administrative support they need free of charge or at a reduced cost.
Securing Tenure Guarantees legal protection against forced eviction, harassment and other threats. NRC –  Shelter Tenure Guidance

Shelter Cluster  – Housing, Land, Property Section

Infrastructure and Settlement Planning Improves the services of a community and support the planning of sustainable transitional settlement and reconstruction solutions. Architecture for Humanity, Concern & CRS – Grand Ravine Diagnostic Report and Community Development Plan Technical and Participatory Report (Draft)-  Section 6 (2014)
Collective Accommodation Support Existing buildings can be used as collective centers or evacuation centers ad to provide rapid shelters.  These can be schools, community buildings, religious facilities, etc.
Managing Settlements and Collective Centers Implies the management of settlements or centers to ensure dignity, safety and quality.
Debris Removal and Management of the Deceased Removal of rubble and similar waste.

For management of deceased, refer to Shelter guidance, Sector WASH.

MSB/UNDP – Debris Management Guidelines (2010)
Rehabilitate and Install Common Infrastructure Recovers public infrastructure such as water supply and sanitation facilities, bridges, electricity, etc.
Rehabilitate and Construct Community Facilities Recovers social infrastructure such as education spaces, health facilities, meeting places, economic centers such as markets, etc. CRS Case StudyPartnership to Restore Vital Hospital Facilities in Port-Au-Prince Case Study (2010)
Urban or Community Planning and Zoning Involves the conception of areas after a crisis so that regulations and general interests are respected. Architecture for Humanity, Concern & CRS, Grand Ravine Diagnostic Report and Community Development Plan Technical and Participatory Report (Draft)-  Full Report (2014) (French & English):

Coming Soon

Relocation Involves rebuilding housing and assets for a family or community in a different location.