Village houses in the provinces are traditionally made of sticks with mud walls and thatch or grass roofs; they may be circular or rectangular in shape. In some villages, wattle-and-daub construction has been replaced by sun-dried mud blocks, and roofs of grass, palm thatch, or palm tiles are giving way to corrugated iron sheeting. In Freetown, older two-story wooden houses have been being replaced by structures built largely of concrete blocks, with corrugated iron or cement-asbestos roofs. Building is controlled in the major towns, and designs are subject to approval.
In 1999, as a result of the invasion of rebels, about 5,932 homes were completely destroyed in Freetown and the surrounding areas of Kissy, Wellington, Calaba Town, and Allen Town. The town of Koidu, which was once the second largest town in the nation, suffered major destruction. National estimates indicate that by 2001, 300,000 homes were destroyed as a result of the internal rebellion. Approximately 1.2 million people were internally displaced or have fled to neighboring countries.
The government has made reconstruction a priority and has initiated a National Housing Policy to work on programs of reform, resettlement, and reconstruction. Through one program, the government has planned to sell public housing and to use the proceeds to build more housing units.