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All Under One Roof

1.0 Introduction
2.0 Mainstreaming disability inclusion in the shelter and settlements programme cycle
3.0 Design Recommendations and material support
4.0 Considerations based on mode of delivery and forms of tenure
Annex 1 Guiding Frameworks
Annex 2 Terms and definitions
Annex 3 Acronyms and abbreviations
Case study library

4.3 Support for rented shelter or host families

Cash for rent can be an effective way of providing shelter to the displaced population, especially in urban areas, while utilising the already existing housing stock.  

If the alternative is shelter in camps or emergency shelters, renting or hosting can offer increased safety and suitability for persons with disabilities. However, rented or hosted shelter may also involve challenges, including physical barriers in the existing housing stock. Hosting can put a strain on social relationships, and renting may come with tenure insecurity which affects persons with disabilities disproportionately. 

Rented or hosted shelter can in some cases offer persons with disabilities and caregivers increased possibility to stay close to support networks or important services and facilities. 

As a general rule, households of persons with disabilities should be offered a high degree of choice and self-determination when it comes to shelter options. This may include support in hosting situations or rental subsidies, but also an increased freedom to move between different agency programmes. 

It will be important to understand potential attitudinal or other barriers that may exist that make it hard for persons with disabilities to rental housing. 

For hosting situations, identify gaps based on individual needs and the current level of accessibility. Make an agreement for the host family to sign, detailing possible adaptations that can be carried out. 

Make sure that persons with disabilities can be hosted together with family members or support networks in the same or adjacent shelters 

If you decide to establish a rental support programme or support hosting, you should consider the following to ensure equal access for persons with disabilities: 

4.3.1 Make sure that information about the rental or hosting programme is available in different formats and that eligibility criteria are clearly communicated.
4.3.2 Include barriers in the assessment of available units and classify them according to accessibility for persons with different types of disabilities. Reserve shelter units on the ground floor of multi-storey buildings. Enlist the support of OPDs in identifying barriers and suitable units if necessary.
Wheelchair users for example will require apartments that are barrier free and accessible by ramp on the ground floor. Other persons with reduced mobility should also be matched with ground-floor apartments but may not need access ramps or barrier-free interiors.
4.3.3 Provide landlords with a list of necessary adaptations. Offer technical support and follow-up to landlords who wish to participate in the rental programme. Temporary, reversible adaptations may be preferred over permanent modifications. This could also facilitate agreements with landlords.
4.3.4 Make a list of individuals or households that qualify for rental support, and match with accessible shelter units based on the needs of persons with disabilities and the existing level of accessibility of the shelter unit.
4.3.5 Consider accessibility of the shelter when identifying potential hosts or rental facilities, and include disability among selection criteria. Coordinate with local authorities and OPDs to agree on responsibilities during implementation and follow-up of support activities.
Close and regular monitoring is needed to identify protection issues facing persons with disabilities in hosting situations. Disability focal points and OPDs could be well placed to act as mediators between hosts and the hosted in case of tension.
4.3.6 Adaptations must approved by the host family (and landlords if the accommodation is rented). Offer adaptations that are temporary and reversible, if this is more acceptable and provide advocacy if necessary. Conduct HLP due diligence to ensure that the person accepting any adaptations is the owner and can sign an agreement.
Additional resources on rental assistance or hosting can be found at: