The Church of England has published a major report calling for a collective effort by Government, local authorities, landowners and property developers as well as the Church to tackle an acute shortage of truly affordable homes.
The report, Coming Home, from the Archbishops’ Commission on Housing, Church and Community, concludes that the Church of England should lead by example and deliver more truly affordable homes on its own land.
The Commission has identified new ways in which the 6000 acres of strategic landholdings of the Church Commissioners could be used and recommends a new Church Measure which would ensure that dioceses and parishes can use church land for social and environmental benefit.
Published after two years of research, the report warns that the housing crisis has 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 Archbishop of Canterbury and CTE President, Justin Welby, said: “The Commission has laid out an exciting and compelling vision for housing in our nation. I welcome the challenge to the Church, which is uniquely placed thanks to our resources and our committed and continuing presence in every community, to work to build not just more houses but truly affordable houses and stronger communities. My prayer is that the work of this Commission will help us achieve God’s desire for all of His children to find ‘home’ here on Earth as a taste of the eternal home we are offered in His Kingdom.”
To provide direction for these initiatives, the Archbishop of Canterbury will ask the General Synod, the church’s national assembly, to confirm that meeting housing need is an integral part of the mission of the Church of England. And the newly-appointed Bishop for Housing, the Right Rev Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani will lead a team supporting local dioceses and parishes to help meet local housing need.