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Friday, October 21, 2016
New guide on using church land for affordable housing
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A new website: Faith in Affordable Housing is being launched today at Church House in Westminster. The resource has practical and technical information to help churches offer their land or property for affordable housing. Converting existing church buildings into affordable housing provides a win-win situation. Not only does it provide a much needed resource for the local community but also brings in an often urgently needed revenue stream to the church.
The guide presents nine case studies from different denominations in both urban and rural areas of England.
There is St James's Church Centre in Northumberland (United Reformed) that was in desperate need of renovation. It now hosts nine affordable homes plus a 21st century church, including facilities that meet the needs of diverse groups within the town. The worship area is adaptable and can be used for conferences and concerts.
At St Paul's in Plymouth (Church of England), the old church and hall was demolished and a new 40-flat extra care scheme for older people built in its place. A new community building, complete with a dedicated smaller worship space for the church to use, was built on the site of the local library. In turn a new library was developed as part of the extra care building.
The guide also includes technical information and lots of practical resources.
The supply of affordable housing needs to be increased dramatically. Faith in Affordable Housing offers ways in which churches ­ across all denominations ­ can contribute to the supply, as well as generating income.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, President of Housing Justice, 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."
Although churches often support the principle of the redevelopment of church land and property for social housing, many are concerned about meeting other objectives ­ they have staff to pay, buildings to maintain and a mission to fulfil! Yet there is great potential for churches to use surplus assets for those in housing need and still fulfil these aims.
"This guide offers the ideas, information and inspiration to help churches provide affordable housing wherever possible", said James Derounian from the University of Gloucestershire.
To see Faith in Affordable Housing visit:

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