MNN’s D.C.-based blogger Andrew Schenkel recently published a post detailing support-worthy organizations providing aid in Japan, a mighty nation crippled by a triple-threat 8.9/9.0 magnitude earthquake, tsunami, and the ongoing nuclear crisis. There are many familiar orgs mentioned including The Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontieres, and the Salvation Army. There’s even a section focusing on animal rescue efforts.

To complement Andrew's post I thought I’d take a moment to highlight two shelter/housing-centric organizations worth supporting in the wake of this unprecedented disaster.

ShelterBox, a relatively new (founded in 2000) UK-based organization, provides emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies to those displaced by natural disasters. The contents inside of lightweight and waterproof ShelterBoxes are tailored to specific disasters but generally include large tents, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a tool kit, and other items. Take a look inside a typical ShelterBox here.

According to the ShelterBox, an initial relief 200 boxes have been moved into Japan for distribution in the hardest-hit coastal areas and another 5,000 boxes are on standby should they be needed. Says ShelterBox Director of Operations John Leach:

Japan is a rich nation but the sheer volume of people displaced is what will cause a problem. We believe tents will be needed in the north. In the cold weather, without access to shelter, people who are exposed will really start to suffer. We have to be there to support people in need, whatever country they belong to, when disasters of this scale strike. We’re ready to respond in whatever way and in whatever capacity is required from us.
Visit ShelterBox’s donation page to find out how you can help. The cool thing about ShelterBox is that donors can actually track each uniquely numbered relief box that they helped to provide.

In addition to temporary housing needs offered by ShelterBox, one of my favorite nonprofit organizations, Architecture for Humanity, just released a comprehensive, 10-phase reconstruction plan for Japan. Reads the Architecture for Humanity Website:

Our focus will be to support the building of the following; Transitional Shelters, Health Clinics, Community Structures, Schools, Hospitals and Civic Structures. To implement our long term plan we are partnering with our Kyoto and Osaka chapters as well as a number of Japanese architects in our global network. If we need to we will broaden our reach to our entire network. Thanks to long term supporters and individual donations we now have the resources to start this process.
However an organization should only work within a scope that fits the scale of the response. In Haiti we raised close to $2M and are undertaking a 3 year construction plan building many schools, in partnership with However in Chile we raised around $50,000 and focused resources on building a small youth center in Talca. Let us not forget Christchurch.
For Japan if we raise between $50,000 - $200,000 we will provide pro bono design services and construction management. If we raise more than $200,000, our organization will provide a suite of design and construction services as well as construction financing for small 'urban acupuncture' centers.
Click here to find out how to support Architecture for Humanity’s 2011 Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami program.

And since this is a home design blog, it’s only appropriate that I feature this vibrant but simple screen-printed poster designed by Max Erdenberger, a designer at W+K Studio in Portland, Ore., that I spotted over at GOOD. The posters, measuring 40” by 26” can be purchased here — the minimum donation is $25 — with all proceeds benefiting relief efforts in Japan.

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

How to help shelter-related relief efforts in Japan
Find out more about ShelterBox and Architecture for Humanity, two organizations helping to provide shelter to the thousands of Japanese citizens displaced by la