Housing has long been a vital concern in Bangladesh. The government maintains an urban housing program but does not have any housing development program for villages. The House Building Finance Corp. lends money for private as well as public housing. Dhaka and Chittagong urban development is conducted under the guidance of town planning authorities, which develops land and allocates it for private dwelling and commercial purposes.
As of the 1991 census, the average household contained 5.5 people. About 79% of all dwellings were made of straw or bamboo walls, usually with roofs of the same material. About 28.5% of all dwellings were made with mud brick walls, 19.9% were built with wood sheets, and 62.6% had cement walls.
Since 1996, the government has launched a number of programs focusing on poverty and homelessness. The Asrayon ("shelter") program provided group housing and agricultural plots on government land for about 50,000 families (2002est.). The Gahrey Phera ("return home") program helps displaced rural families return to their villages. The Grihayan Tahabil (Housing Fund) was also established through the Bangladesh Bank as a way to provide loans to non-government organization who endeavor to build shelters for the urban poor.