A new foundation, set up to coordinate practical advice and guidance to churches and dioceses hoping to help tackle the housing crisis in their communities, has been formally launched today by the Church of England.
The Church Housing Foundation will promote collaboration between churches and dioceses and experts in a range of areas from community engagement around housing need to planning and legal issues.
The Foundation is being led by the Church of England’s Lead Bishop for Housing, the Bishop of Chelmsford, Guli Francis-Dehqani.
It takes forward key recommendations from Coming Home, the landmark report published by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community.
Leaders, housing professionals, and those involved in or wanting to start local projects will be able to contribute to the Foundation and make use of the connections and resources offered.
“Our churches play a vital role in the communities they serve, working together with people in desperate circumstances to help with immediate needs.
“Many are also looking at longer-term support such as providing good housing,” Bishop Guli said.
“Today I want to highlight the opportunity for even more to become involved in this vital work.
“We are inviting people to come together across the Church and the housing sector, people who share a vision for good housing and communities.
“We’re also participating in the wider conversations around housing, looking to learn from and bless the work of others.
“Within the Church we are demanding more from ourselves as stewards of prodigious resources – both nationally and locally.
“However, it is not just our land that is of value but our presence and agency in many different communities.
“If we look around and ask who is standing up for those in housing need around us, the answer is clear: it should be the Church.”
The Coming Home report published in February 2021 called on the Church of England to lead by example, including delivering more truly affordable homes on its own land, to help solve the housing crisis.
Published after two years of research, the 10-strong Commission warned that the crisis had left an estimated eight million people living in overcrowded, unaffordable and sub-standard accommodation with increasing numbers of families unable to put down roots in their communities.
The Church Housing Foundation will work to mobilise and equip the Church at all levels, growing and supporting the community who want to work together on the housing crisis, and stewarding the values set out in the Coming Home report.