If we want to resolve it, if we are willing to share the cost more evenly and if we implement the recommendations outlined in this Report over an extended period of time, we can create homes and communities that are truly sustainable, safe, stable, sociable and satisfying for all.
Every actor in the housing market – landowners, developers, landlords, homeowners and tenants, as well as local and central government – has a role to play. In the midst of a housing crisis that has been exacerbated by Covid-19, our collective responsibility to act is more urgent than ever.
The Church of England is committed to the life of the whole nation and every community. As such, we believe the Church has a responsibility to be actively involved in housing. The Commission recommends that the Church of England commits to using its land assets to promote more truly affordable homes, through developments that deliver on our five core values.
Actions by the Church of England:
- The Archbishop of Canterbury has submitted a General Synod motion, recognising that housing and communities are part of the mission and ministry of the Church of England;
- A Bishop for Housing and an executive team will embed this vision within the Church and support dioceses in using their land well;
- The Church Commissioners have committed to signing the 2020 UK Stewardship Code, have retained Hoare Lea to advise on an ESG framework and will report regularly on how their land use delivers against environmental and social outcomes.
Recommendations for the Church of England:
- The legal framework for selling church assets be amended so church land and buildings can be used for social and environmental, as well as economic, benefit.
- The Church Commissioners set an example to other landowners by favouring new developments on its land that align with the Commission’s five core values;
- A review is carried out to examine how the Church Commissioners’ strategic land can be used to deliver more truly affordable housing;
- The Church Commissioners consider whether they could draw down more from their assets and release strategic land, to unlock the potential for many more affordable homes;
- Clergy and lay activists are offered training on how to engage on housing matters;
- Local church community work shifts from crisis interventions to prevention.
To facilitate these recommendations, the Commission has co-created:
- An interactive map that accurately identifies all church land and buildings within dioceses;
- A survey to demonstrate how parishes are meeting local needs and building community;
- Guidance and case studies to help churches respond effectively to housing needs locally;
- Books, videos and Bible study notes to reflect and engage with housing issues from a Christian perspective.
"We expect to see more truly affordable homes being built on church land."
Recommendations for Government and others:
This crisis will not be solved without Government action. Instead of the short-term initiatives implemented by successive governments, it is time for a bold, coherent, long-term housing strategy, focused on those in greatest need.
- The development of a long-term, cross-party housing strategy to improve the quality and sustainability of the existing stock and increase the supply of truly affordable new housing;
- A review of housing support and restoration of LHAs to median rents in each local area;
- Maximising the use of public land for affordable housing to achieve long-term social and economic value;
- Greater protection for private sector tenants, including longer-term security of tenure and a duty of care on all landlords;
- A commitment to improve and reduce the need for temporary accommodation;
- A commitment to remove all unsafe cladding on residential blocks and fully protect leaseholders from remediation costs;
- Landlords should ensure that the voices of their tenants are heard, considered and acted on.
"In the midst of a housing crisis that has been exacerbated by Covid-19, our collective responsibility to act is more urgent than ever."