Household intervention and residential satisfaction in low-income housing in Kissy, Freetown
My involvement with low-income housing development in Freetown particularly in the Kissy area between 1983 and 1988 sparked my interest in the evolving problem of housing deterioration in most parts of the city. The dominant theme of almost universal relevance, i.e. housing improvement, had impressed itself upon me as a result. I therefore felt that a comprehensive study of the problem need to be carried out. If one permits his hopes to condition his speculations, one may conclude that housing improvement among low-income households will improve the quality of life for the majority of the inhabitants of the city who are in the low-income groups. It is this fundamental aspiration that propelled me to undertake this study with the hope that improvements made by low-income households themselves will be a potent factor in housing improvement that eventually leads to a greater satisfaction. If this study succeeds in casting a stronger light on the importance of housing improvement by low-income households, and if it also inspires greater attention to this problem in government policies and in aid programmes, it will have more than served its purpose. The present study therefore, focuses on issues related to household intervention in low-income housing in Kissy and its relationship with residential satisfaction, and the residents attitudes and perceptions of their housing and how these may influence their values as regards their intervention in their housing in an attempt to improve its quality. The central question the research seeks to answer is: "is there any relationship between intervention of households and the satisfaction they derive from their housing? If so, which factors are involved?". The study also distinguishes between three types of household intervention: active, passive and balanced household intervention. The factors we believe may influence household intervention are: available resources, housing management control, residential attachment, previous housing experience, preferred housing, and their demographic characteristics i.e. household density, household size, household income; age, education and occupation of the head of household, and their residential status. To achieve these objectives hypotheses were derived based on the above factors. Statistical analysis which include Pearsonian correlations, Chi-square tests and analysis of variance were performed on data gathered in a survey conducted in Kissy between November 1990 and March 1991. The results indicate that residential satisfaction was positively associated with household intervention. This was more so for owner occupiers than renter. The former also carried out more interventions in their housing than the latter. Residential attachment, housing management control, household size, and household income were the factors found to be significantly associated with household intervention. It is hoped that findings based on the assumptions and limitations of the study will be satisfactory for use in Public policy making, programme planning and implementation, and will also provide useful information to those involved in the design and improvement of housing for low-income families in Kissy.