Shelter improvements and provision can assume a leading role in promoting both household livelihoods and community recovery in disaster affected areas. Livelihoods promotion in shelter sector activities can also serve as a primary means of reducing the vulnerability of communities to disasters.
Global trends contributing to increasing vulnerability include rapid population growth, even greater rates of urban population growth, increasing poverty, environmental degradation, and an increase in the number of disasters.
These trends are quite pronounced in developing countries. One means of reducing the cumulative impacts of these trends is improving the living
environments of vulnerable populations, particularly in the cities of developing countries, where nearly half of humanity will be living in 2025.
Shelter activities typically consume the majority of developed land in most settlements. Shelter improvements and provision, both before and after disasters strike, can thus reduce vulnerability by improving living environments, generating direct and indirect employment, and expanding the role of shelter as an input to the production process. In this role, shelter
facilitates home-based enterprises, which are a key form of income generation among the most vulnerable in developing countries. Promotion of
shelter improvements and provision “at scale” can thus generate and regenerate local economies and livelihoods, thereby reducing the vulnerability of settlements to future disasters, and enabling settlements to
recover more rapidly when disasters do occur.