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Church leaders urged to offer more land for "genuinely" affordable housing

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Church leaders urged to offer more land for "genuinely" affordable housing

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

Church leaders urged to offer more land for Church leaders urged to offer more land for "genuinely" affordable housing

Church leaders and Christian landowners should provide land to develop "genuinely" affordable housing for those in greatest need, according to a report published today.

'The Housing Crisis in London: mobilising the church' also calls for more "ethical" lettings agencies and for Christians to take a stand against NIMBY-ism to support the development of new homes.

The report has been published following a conference in October organised by Housing Justice, the London Churches Group for Social Action and the Methodist/Baptist/URC Joint Public Issues Team.

The conference was called in response to the growing shortage of affordable housing in London, now reaching crisis point for people on low or average incomes, and to households receiving welfare benefits. It brought together more than 70 church leaders and representatives. Expert speakers included Paul Morrison of the Methodist/Joint Public Issues Team on Poverty; Kate Barker CBE, on Financial Policy: Steve Wilcox of York University on Housing Supply; and Alison Gelder of Housing Justice, who set out some alternatives to Benefits Caps.

Terry Drummond, of the London Church Leaders Group for Social Action, writes in the report: “It is completely unacceptable in 2012/13 that a wealthy nation such as the United Kingdom leaves so many individuals and families living in sub-standard housing.

"The challenge we offer is to government both local and national, to landlords and to the churches who are in many cases both landowners and landlords. In addressing government we cannot avoid looking at ourselves and working together to bring about change.

"This is about how ordinary people survive – or fail to survive - in British society.”

Alison Gelder of Housing Justice said: “To have somewhere we call home is a fundamental part of our human dignity. To be deprived of such a basic necessity is to feel less than human.”

James North of the Joint Public Issues Team added: “Churches and individual Christians are called to be good news for the poor. We have rallied to this call before and now it is time to do it again.”

Recommendations in the report include:

  • More ethical lettings agencies, charging fair rents and being prepared to grant longer and more secure tenancies.
  • Christian landowners and investors (including churches) to use available land to develop genuinely affordable housing for individuals and families with the greatest need.
  • Christians to take a stand against public attitudes or NIMBYism, and support the development of more homes where they are most needed.

The report can be downloaded in full from www.housingjustice.org.uk

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