Most Samoans live in villages in traditional Samoan houses called fales. A fale is usually round or oval, with pebble floors and a thatch roof. It has no walls, being supported on the sides by posts. Coconut-leaf blinds can be lowered to exclude wind and rain. In areas more affected by contact with Europeans, the fale may have a concrete floor, corrugated iron roof, and lattice-work walls. Another fused Samoan-European type, much used by chiefs and pastors, is an oblong concrete house with some walls, often with separate rooms in each corner; like the fale it is open at the sides. Fales are grouped around an open area in the center of the village and have separate cookhouses behind them.
More modern housing has been constructed since about the 1990s, primarily through international assistance. Solid wall structures with concrete foundations and iron roofs have been built to withstand the natural elements of harsh wind, rain, and cyclones. However, low-income familes are not able to purchase or build such structrues without assistance. The Housing Corporation of Samoa was established by the Housing Corporation Act of 1989 to offer loans and assistance for propspective homeowners.