At the opening of Poverty & Homelessness Action Week this weekend, leaders of Christian churches in Scotland are to call for intensive investment in affordable housing.
Rt Rev David Lunan, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, together with twelve other church leaders, today endorsed a call from Scottish Churches Housing Action for a return to post-war levels of affordable house-building as a way of avoiding the worst effects of the recession.
The call comes in a paper which Scottish Churches Housing Action has sent to First Minister Alex Salmond MSP, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling MP and other political leaders.
“I congratulate Scottish Churches Housing Action for issuing their well-researched paper on the impact of the recession on homelessness, and for marshalling the arguments in favour of Government-backed social housing programmes, which I welcome,” says the Moderator.
The paper calls on the administrations at Holyrood and Westminster to get together in facilitating a massive boost to public investment in affordable housing.
Alastair Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Churches Housing Action, who wrote the paper, says, “The church leaders’ endorsement has been hugely encouraging, and we believe there is public support for this approach.
“Building affordable homes for rent and for sale will have a triple impact: it will help those who’ll be made homeless in the recession; it will keep people in jobs in the property, building and related industries; and it will keep tax revenues from those jobs flowing to the exchequer, while avoiding unemployment pay-outs.
“We welcome this week’s announcement of further funds for affordable housing development, but we’ve been clear to The Scottish Government that it still doesn’t address the scale of the problem. We’re not asking them to do this despite the recession – we say it’s part of how to deal with it.”
The charity’s call has been endorsed by the Presidents of the Roman Catholic Commissions on Justice & Peace and Social Care; the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church; the Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland; and the General Secretary of Action of Churches Together in Scotland, among others.
A list of activities during Poverty & Homelessness Action Week can be found at www.actionweek.org.uk