Inadequate housing, most critically felt in cities and towns, is endemic throughout El Salvador. A 1999 report indicated a housing deficit of 551,000 homes. It was estimated that it would take 56 years to make up for this deficit. Housing problems have been exacerbated by the civil war, which has created hundreds of thousands of refugees. Earthquakes in 2001 damaged nearly 335,000 homes, about 25% of the total housing stock.
More than half of all urban dwellings have earthen floors and adobe walls and many have straw roofs. Concrete and adobe are preferred building materials. In 2000, only about 74% of households had access to improved water sources and 83% had access to improved sanitation systems.
The government has received financial assistance from international and foreign organizations, such as USAID and the Inter-American Development Bank, for projects focused on repair and reconstruction of damaged housing, as welll as new housing development. The Salvadorian Foundation for Development and Basic Housing (FUNDASAL), which was established un 1968, continues to work on projects to improve the living conditions of low-income and poverty stricken residents. To date, FUNDASAL has sponsored over 200 improvement projects and built over 25,000 homes.