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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Project to convert redundant church property into affordable homes
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¬†Christian homelessness charity Housing Justice has launched a new project which will enable churches to create affordable homes from redundant church land and property across England. The project, which the charity has named Faith in Affordable Housing, aims to reconcile the dilemma faced by many churches ≠ balancing social objectives such as valuing everyone, justice for the poor and morality before wealth- with the pragmatic objectives of meeting the duties of trustees and maximising investment returns to keep ministry running. Project workers will gather together technical information on what is required to release land and redundant properties for use as affordable housing to provide a one stop advice service for churches thinking about using their assets for affordable housing. A listing of church assets which have already been developed as affordable housing, or have the potential for such use, will also be compiled. Through sharing good practice and showing what can be done Housing Justice hopes to inspire church leaders to turn unused assets into homes. Over the next month researchers will be approaching the different Christian denominations throughout England to encourage them to participate in this piece of practical and action-oriented research. President of Housing Justice Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor said: "I am delighted to commend this initiative to all faith communities who are seeking to respond to the needs of the homeless or poorly housed. In both urban and rural areas there is evidence of spiralling hardship which can lead to the loss of a basic requisite of human dignity ≠ shelter. As people of faith we are called to address injustice in all its forms. I encourage diocesan trustees and those charged with the stewardship of charitable estates to explore options in relation to their estate issues and to consider, in this context, an option for the poor." Judith Maizel-Long of Housing Justice said: "This project will offer practical help to churches to use excess land and buildings to provide desperately needed affordable housing." She added: "Churches are uniquely placed in the community and have a long history of action in this area through organisations such as the Housing Justice's forerunners the Catholic Housing Aid Society and the Churches National Housing Coalition as well as through involvement in homelessness charities and local housing associations. We hope to build on this history to offer hope to those suffering from homelessness and poor housing today."
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