The campaigning churches' charity, Housing Justice, has announced new funding for initiatives aimed at tackling the growing rural housing crisis.
The agency's deputy director, Alastair Murray, says that Housing Justice has received finance from the Tudor Trust to take forward the Faith in Affordable Housing (FIAH) project to use church land and property for community benefit.
New Project Worker Tracey Bessant, who wrote the FIAH guide, will develop the project by working with churches to help them redevelop their unused buildings and land for affordable housing and new uses in the community.
As Ekklesia has reported, at the recent 'Churches, Housing and Rural Communities' conference in Cumbria, Murray said that the shortage of affordable rural housing was reaching crisis point in many parts of the country.
This is so, said the Housing Justice CEO, “especially for families in housing need in areas with high property prices and large numbers of second homes. ... We know that we need to increase dramatically the supply of affordable housing. Churches are uniquely placed in the community to support this aim where they have surplus assets. Providing housing is a very practical solution to creating social benefit and preventing rural hardship.”
The Penrith conference, held at the local Methodist Church, was the second in a series of FIAH events organised by Housing Justice with sponsorship from Quaker Housing Trust.
Cumbria Rural Housing Trust and the Churches Trust for Cumbria worked in partnership to bring a wide range of key players together, including delegates representing the churches, local government and social housing, people working in rural communities and private developers.