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28 April 2021

Supporting people in the wake of the pandemic

Through a programme called ‘A Place Called Home’, IKEA is supporting people experiencing poverty and inequality in the wake of COVID-19 with a EUR 26 million emergency relief fund. Each country has been given a share of the fund to work with local organisations to provide necessities such as beds, bedding, food and toys to places such as hospitals, medical centres and shelters.

“At the beginning we activated an emergency community fund of 26M euros in 30 countries and we supported more than 700 000 people in the local neighborhoods and more than 1000 organisations” says Mercedes Gutiérrez Álvarez, Head of Social Impact Communities at Ingka Group. “The pandemic has been a stress test for our vison and our values and I have never been so proud of siding with the many people and supporting as many co-workers, suppliers and people in the local neighborhoods”.

IKEA Canada relief fund supports Furniture Bank charity
One of the many organisations that IKEA Canada is working with to take forward its A Place Called Home programme is Furniture Bank. This is a charity and social enterprise that supports Canadians experiencing furniture poverty, which means that they don’t have the means to afford or access basic household items that are essential for a decent quality of life. The charity’s work also contributes to a green and circular COVID-19 recovery.  

Furniture Bank redistributes furniture and housewares from donors in the community to clients that include women and children leaving shelters, the formerly homeless and newcomers and refugees. Revenues are in part generated through Furniture Banks’ furniture removal service, which is run as a social enterprise. 

IKEA Canada has helped Furniture Bank support over 2600 families, that are facing poverty or homelessness, to quarantine comfortably during COVID-19. 

IKEA Italy is helping ensure safety, a sense of belonging, shelter, and support
IKEA Italy has incorporated A Place Called Home into its wider brand platform on activism. Through A Place Called Home, IKEA Italy is supporting six organisations that are helping people all across the country. People, whose access to affordable and safe homes has been affected by COVID-19, and who don’t have a regular housing ecosystem that guarantees them things like hospitality, shelter and psychological support.

This is deeply connected to the societal and economic scenario that is resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting from these premises, we want to make a healthy, sustainable and equal life at home accessible and affordable to all”, explains Massimiliano Santini, Communication Operations Manager, IKEA Italy.

Each of the four organisations are receiving financial support from IKEA Italy as well as specific help from the local stores.

IKEA India is providing migrant construction workers in Bangalore with safe accommodation 
In India, IKEA has incorporated A Place Called Home into its Emergency Community Support program. Through this, IKEA India is supporting various partner organisations with initiatives around the country, including an innovative accommodation solution that will transform the lives of migrant construction workers in Bangalore.

“The construction industry in India relies on workers who travel from small villages all over the country into the rapidly expanding Indian metropolises” says Peter Joachim Serafin, Sustainability Business Partner, IKEA India. “The migrant workers come from places that are really far away and they often don’t have satisfactory accommodation in the places where they work. They often therefore live in basic shacks that the developer has put up on the construction site, or sleep within the structural frame of the building that is being constructed, or they live in nearby slums.”

This problem is especially visible in Bangalore, which has huge population growth coupled with economic development, and a large amounts of construction projects to provide for that growth. The solution that IKEA India is now investing in to help migrant construction workers in Bangalore involves the provision of high-quality modular accommodation. The project is being undertaken by a consortium of NGOs and initially involves a pilot program that will provide 100 workers with 25 housing units at one construction site in the city.

“As well as addressing the challenges from COVID that construction workers face, we are also addressing long term issues,” says Peter. “This project aims to be transformative and deliver real change in the Bangalore construction industry”.

The initial 25 housing units are due to be installed at their first construction site in around 12 months from now, at which time the project will be evaluated for further development.


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