Reduced number of child marriages from 30% to 0% by December 2037
0.1.1: Twelve homes built by December 2037
0.1.2: School fees for 100,000 students paid
0.1.3: Food and other basic services provided at the home.
0.1.4: 36 care takers hired
0.1.5: Medical insurance provided for 100,000 children.
0.1.6: Counselling services and mentors provided
0.1.7: Role plays of successful people in Sierra Leone conducted.
0.1.8: Income generating activities established.
0.1.9: STD testing centre established.
0.1.10: Communities sensitised on effects of homelessness.
Homelessness in Sierra Leone: A brief overview
Sierra Leone is a country situated on the Western coast of Africa where over half of the population lives below the poverty line, and the increase in the country’s population since the war ended has already presented a major challenge to the country’s economic growth, with profound implications on housing availability and accessibility, especially by the poor and other vulnerable groups. As housing in Sierra Leone is now a major public issue, having a clear understanding about the present housing condition with reliable data collected from the 2015 Census, is timely. It provides guidance to the Government in improving on the existing housing policy as well as in the formation of programs to improve on housing quantity and quality and also helps partners who may have interest in helping to salvage homelessness as a critical issue in the growth and development of the country’s population.
The study found out that the total household population of Sierra Leone in 2015 was 7,076,119. However, there were only 801,417 houses in the country with 1,265,468 households living in them. The findings show that population increases were already presenting a major challenge to the country’s housing sector, with housing availability and access being a major problem faced by many households. Moreover, the majority of houses in the country were inadequate1 with many households in such poor housing conditions that they were constantly living under threat. Housing inadequacy is exacerbated by overcrowded conditions with a national average of 1.6 households per house; an average of 8.8 people per household countrywide, and over half of these households (55 per cent) living in just one or two rooms.
However, homelessness in Sierra Leone receives little attention from the nation’s political leaders. Assumptions determine that because of strong cultural and social traits, individuals can seek help from neighbors or extended family members for shelter and housing needs. However, if friends and family have nothing to give, then those in need have nothing to receive. While the circumstances causing homelessness across the globe tends to be the same, the reality of it in Sierra Leone differs significantly at a very high magnitude
The occurrence of various crises and disasters have adversely impacted on the homeless population in Sierra Leone. The civil war that lasted over a decade from 1991 to 2002, the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and the 2017 mudslide are also seen as major contributors in this regard. Three thousand people experienced displacement because of the mudslide in Freetown that killed over One thousand people. Regular flooding in Freetown and the sporadic fire incidences have as well been major contributors to homelessness in Sierra Leone.
Despite the inadequate support from the authorities, a handful of Non-governmental organizations have intervened to provide necessities along with shelter to the homeless persons and Bridge to a Better Life is keen on joining the fight against homelessness in Sierra Leone by providing support to deprived children and families. This engagement and support has been ongoing since 2013, and Bridge to a Better Life looks forward to intensifying its support with a focus of establishing safe homes for a huge chunk of the homeless population in Sierra Leone.