Housing is a critical problem, as is the lack of adequate water supplies and of effective waste disposal and sewage systems. Urban development plans have been prepared for Georgetown and New Amsterdam and a number of schemes, including the construction of low-cost rental housing, have been inaugurated. Loans are made through the Guyana Cooperative Mortgage Finance Bank, founded in 1973. To spur housing development, the government established the Guyana Housing Corp. in 1974. The government provides supervision by trained personnel for those willing to build their own homes. Housing is provided by some firms for their employees. Even so, housing shortages are prevalant and overcrowding and homelessness in urban areas is a great problem.
From 1996–2001, the government has worked on programs for low-income housing. The result to date has been the construction of about 91 settlements providing 50,000 housing units.
Most housing units in the country are detached houses. Owners occupy over half of all dwellings. Most dwellings are wooden, with a smaller proportion made either of wood and concrete or concrete.