Housing

To have somewhere we call home is a fundamental part of our human dignity. To be deprived of such a basic necessity is to feel less than human. Yet the UK’s housing crisis is leaving more people without a safe and secure home.


Key Resources

Click to download

Click to download

More than Bricks and Mortar

A discussion of some of the social, theological and policy issues around housing, More than Bricks and Mortar offers some background information and four ‘think-pieces’ to help Christians reflect on the current housing crisis and how they could respond.

 

How-churches-can-support-and-create-affordable-housing-at-a-time-of-crisis-page-001

Click to download

How churches can support and create affordable housing at a time of crisis

This report offers guidance on various routes churches can take to increase the supply of much needed affordable homes, and examples of churches that have managed to do this.

 

 


More…

  • JPIT briefing ahead of today’s Universal Credit debate

    Universal Credit will be debated in Parliament today and the JPIT churches have sent a briefing to every MP outlining our concerns.  The briefing outlines some of the key problems but the central message is simple: Universal Credit’s processes suit the lives of the relatively well-off, the people who designed it, but fails to take ...

  • Universal Credit: Bending the evidence and carrying on regardless

    At Prime Minister’s Questions Theresa May defended the roll out of Universal Credit by saying that the new benefit gets more people into work. Since July the Government has used the phrase, “ Universal Credit people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system”, time and time again. While it is true, as with many DWP statements, it is ...

  • Benefit Cap cuts to single parents with young children is unlawful says High Court

    The Benefit Cap causes real misery to no good purpose. While I agree with this sentiment it is not mine. It comes from the closing sentence of a High Court judgement which declares unlawful the Government’s policy of capping the benefits of single parents with children under 2 years old. The full judgement is a ...

  • Local Election Resource: Explore Faith & Politics 2017

    On 4 May many of us will go the ballot box and vote for candidates in local council elections. Over the last four years we have seen two referendums and a General Election, and in the midst of all of this it is easy to disengage from local politics. And yet local democracy remains a vital part ...

  • A place to call home?

    ‘A place to call home?‘ is our latest resource on housing; a set of six bible studies for small group discussion focusing on a range of issues around housing. It is produced by our four churches in collaboration with Housing Justice and Scottish Churches Housing Action. Britain is facing a housing crisis – a claim which ...

  • DWP Benefit Cap Announcement : More Leeches please!

    For over 2,000 years medics cut people open or applied leaches to remove blood from people suffering from diseases ranging from cancer to haemorrhoids. With the wrong diagnosis and a dangerous treatment, it is not surprising that the medics didn’t do any good. The practice remained popular because despite the bloodletting some of the patients ...

  • A Very British Christmas: Ayana’s story

    A Very British Christmas. What images does that phrase conjure up in your head? For many of us, the idea of A Very British Christmas equates to the promise of the annual Strictly Come Dancing special, or the arrival of Pret’s Christmas sandwich range. Of course, for decades, Christian commentators have bemoaned the commercialisation of Christmas. ...

  • Autumn Statement: Huge planned and unplanned benefit cuts are coming

    There are big benefit cuts coming. The Chancellor’s small but welcome change to Universal Credit Taper rates is a drop in the ocean. The maths is brutally simple. The benefits freeze costs low income families much more than £3.6Bn, the Universal Credit Work Allowance cut will cost £3.2bn, and the Chancellor’s Universal Credit give away ...

  • How does the Benefit Cap Remain so Popular?

    The Benefit Cap – a cap placed on the amount of benefit a family can receive – is an extraordinarily difficult policy to argue against. This is not because it has merits – it is in almost every respect terrible – but because it so beautifully taps into negative beliefs about the benefits system and ...

  • News Release: Churches say Benefit Cap is “damaging” and overwhelmingly targets families with children

    Today the four churches have spoken out about the damage that the Benefit Cap causes and their concern that on Monday 7th November the Cap is being lowered and will eventually affect around 250,000 children. • New Benefit Cap statistics show that 19 out of 20 families whose benefits were cut have children. • Only 14% of ...

  • Post Brexit, the 4-year benefit freeze can no-longer stand

    The cost of living is now rising but Government has frozen the levels of most benefits and tax-credits for the next four years. By doing this the Government has chosen to expose more than 4 million low income families and their 7.5 million children to the full force of rising inflation. In the stable low ...

  • Disability Benefits: Great news but where’s the justice?

    The Work and Pensions Secretary has announced a change in disability benefits that people with chronic diseases that will not improve will no longer be repeatedly tested to see if they have, against all probability, improved. This is unequivocally good news, thousands of people’s quality of life will be improved and the Government will save a great ...

  • In defence of the Living Wage: Morality should have a voice in how much people are paid

    The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has demanded that the proposed rise in the Minimum Wage (now called the National Living Wage for under 25s) be stopped. The underlying rationale is much more worrying than the headline. The IEA’s dismisses democratic or moral arguments about pay in favour of simply letting markets decide. It is ...

  • Troubled Families: Nothing about them, without them, will be for them

    In December 2011, three months after the riots, David Cameron announced that the “Troubled Families Programme” would be rolled out in deprived communities throughout Great Britain. Neither the “troubled families” nor the communities affected had been asked if this program was wanted, needed or was even addressing a real problem. The result was an expensive ...

  • After Iain Duncan Smith’s Resignation

    Iain Duncan Smith has resigned. There have been celebrations in some places and tears in others. The media is full of political analysis about how this will affect the internals of the Government and there appears to be a fight underway about how the man will be remembered. Although I have a view I don’t ...

  • Glasgow allegations of asylum seeker mistreatment: degrading, disrespectful and dehumanising

    In the last couple of weeks some serious allegations have been raised against the private company which is managing the accommodation for asylum seekers in Glasgow.  Orchard and Shipman, a sub-contractor of Serco which provides the service for the Home Office, has been the subject of a former employee whistle-blowing on some of the practices ...

  • Let’s Tackle the Symptoms of Poverty.

    “The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today” The White Queen, Alice Through the Looking Glass. The poorest have long been offered plenty of jam tomorrow. The current incarnation of this offer is we must “tackle the root causes of poverty” and “not simply focus on the symptoms”. With these apparently ...

  • The Equality Trust’s Aspiration Tax report

    A guest blog from Tim Stacey a former JPIT intern and author of the Equality Trust report “The Aspiration Tax: How our social security system holds back low-paid workers“. The Aspiration Tax: How our social security system holds back low-paid workers You can tell a lot about a society by those it chooses to help and those ...

  • Download the Public Issues Calendar for 2016

    The Public Issues Calendar dates are available for download. Click the link below to access the important dates to put in your diary for this year. Calendar dates 2016

  • Everyone but the government knows having #Enough money matters

    Poor families have, on average, less money than other people.: Last night the House of Lords agreed with this surprisingly controversial statement. They have insisted that the UK’s child poverty measures continue to include reference to how much money a family has. While this is welcome, most people will be astounded that the Government seriously ...

  • The New Bedroom Tax Research Confirms Campaigners’ Fears

    Announced quietly, on the last day of Parliament in 2015, the findings from the Government-ordered evaluation of the bedroom tax make disturbing reading. 75% of those affected are cutting back on food. The bedroom tax was one of the most controversial and widely condemned policies included within the Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2012.  When the policy ...

  • #Enough: Take Action

    Tell your MP you want children to have enough: Click here to send them a message Enough is a report by Church Action on Poverty the Church of Scotland the Baptist Union of Great Britain the Methodist Church the Scottish Episcopal Church the United Reformed Church Quakers in Britain

  • #Enough: Applecart “Employment Dispute”

    We are delighted to support the launch of a new short film series from our friends at Applecart. You may remember their video “Poor People – The Factual Facts” explaining the Truth and Lies campaign with the aid of a mop. The storytelling initiative which combines, “film, music, comedy, drama and songs to rediscover stories for ...

  • Was the Spending Review #enough?

    The Government’s change of mind on cuts to Tax Credits is very welcome. It was intended that many working families would now have received a letter explaining that their income was to be dramatically cut. Those letters will not now be sent however the policy change will only have a temporary effect. The plans for ...

  • #Enough: One More Card at Christmas

    Thank you to everyone who sent a Christmas Card to Iain Duncan Smith highlighting the need for every child to have #enough. Christmas is over but the Bill that breaks the link between a families needs and the level of support it can recieve from the benefit system is still moving through Parliament. You can contact ...

  • #Enough: Our Responsibility to meet families’ needs

    Children without enough to meet their basic needs are denied a decent start in life. These children can expect fewer qualifications, lower-paid jobs, more illness and shorter lives than their richer classmates. That is unnecessary and unacceptable. Enough asks that we keep the link between a family’s needs and the support it is offered by the ...

  • Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015

    The Welfare Reform and Work Bill is currently passing through Parliament and will lead to substantial cuts to family incomes – especially lone parents and other families with children. We are particularly concerned that the Bill also seeks to disconnect the basic needs of a family from the benefits it can receive as this has the potential of ...

  • Taking money from the poorest makes them poorer

    Taking money from people on low incomes makes them poorer. Removing income does not make people healthier, create suitable jobs, reduce caring responsibilities, free up time to take on extra work, make rents cheaper, make childcare more affordable or cause employers to pay their staff more than the going rate. The above statement is surprisingly controversial. ...

  • #rethinksanctions: Responding to your MP

      Hundreds of people have contacted their MP about Benefit Sanctions, many using our online tool. Some of the replies have been positive. The replies which have been less positive have used a shared set of arguments. Below are the arguments used in support of the sanctions regime and our response to them. We hope this ...

  • Ever been late for a meeting? Did you lose a month’s income?

    With a new Government in place, it’s urgent that we keep up the pressure for a rethink of the unjust benefit sanctions regime which is harming thousands of people. There is a new action you can quickly takle to highlight this injustice and many more stories that underline the need for urgent change. Stories like Audrey’s. Audrey ...

  • Building more homes in the UK: signs that public opinion is starting to change

    Housing has become an essential issue in the pre-election debate. The main political parties have spoken more about their vision for housing than at any time in recent decades, and it has moved from being a specialist concern of housing experts, Churches and charities to a central issue for the next Government. A recent IPSOS-Mori poll found ...

  • Graham’s Story: Another reason to #rethinksanctions

    Today a cross party committee of MP’s called for a complete review of the benefit sanctions system. Their report descibes a system that is broken, one that causes unecessary hardship and hunger to no good effect. In this blog Anna Drew tells Graham’s story a person driven to using foodbanks because of an unjust sanction. Just ...

  • Homelessness and the Housing Crisis – Prayer Update November 2014

    With Advent fast approaching, many Christians will be reflecting on the circumstances of Jesus’ birth. There was no welcome for a mother about to give birth to a unique child, ‘no room at the inn’ for the Light of the World. As John’s Gospel reminds us, this was to be the pattern of Jesus’ life: “He ...

  • Getting affordable homes built: while politicians jockey, can Churches act?

    As next year’s General Election draws nearer, housing is likely to become a crucial area of debate and distinction between the political parties. There will be controversy around the urgent need for more homes and around the Government’s changes to housing benefit and other Welfare Reform policies. The UK is still building fewer than 110,000 ...

  • Changing the law on Child Neglect

    You won’t be surprised to learn that our understanding of child development and the effects of neglect has changed over the past 80 years. You may be surprised to learn that the law around neglect hasn’t. When assessing if a child is suffering neglect the authorities are legally obliged to use a definition enshrined in ...

  • Work won’t cure Child Poverty

    Last week’s report from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission said something much more profound than the simple headline that the Government will not meet its commitments on child poverty. It said that the current focus on getting more parents to work will not lead to the elimination of child poverty as the Government ...

  • Child Poverty, meaningless promises & free holiday for every reader!

    I am prepared to commit to sending every reader of this blog on holiday to a destination of their choice on the strict understanding that it costs me and my friends less than nothing and it causes me no inconvenience whatsoever. While you may feel unimpressed by my offer, you may even feel mislead – I ...

  • Theology and other ways to waste time

    In the second of this week’s blogs on child poverty, Nigel Varndell from The Children’s Society explains why they waste time on theology. According to the story, an American theologian once challenged his student class and his congregation to shout out the first word that came into their mind when he said ‘theology’. The words that ...

  • Churches respond to Government’s draft Child Poverty Strategy

    The Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches have responded to the UK Government draft “Child Poverty Strategy”. The Child Poverty Act requires the government to update and publish its plan to end Child Poverty by 2020. This target was agreed by all parties and subsequently enshrined in law, however it now appears extremely unlikely that ...

  • Housing and Debt: how long will the Government continue to throw fuel on the fire?

    The Citizens Advice Bureau has reported that council tax debt was the most common issue for its clients between January and March 2014. The debt charity StepChange has also reported a dramatic increase in clients seeking help due to council tax arrears, from 25,500 to 45,561 between 2012 and 2013. This is bad news, but has not ...

  • New Liturgy for Lent 2014

    The West Midlands Joint Public Issues Team has produced a liturgy for Lent 2014. These liturgies are short worship inserts suitable to be used in Lent 2014 but adaptable for other occasions with the aim of encouraging and enabling discussions.  They are aimed at encouraging congregations to reflect on the kind of society they would like to ...

  • Children’s Society survey – millions of families can’t afford to keep the heating on this winter

    A cold home is unpleasant for all of us. But for children, cold can cause illness and even death. A shocking new survey by the Children’s Society alongside YouGov and the Mirror paints a stark picture of a Britain where millions of families are having to choose ‘to heat or to eat’ at serious risk to ...

  • Housing Policy Resolutions for 2014: Hope and Frustration

    Happy New Year to all our readers! What kind of New Year’s resolutions might help the UK to stem the still-worsening housing crisis? The answer to this question is both frustrating and potentially encouraging. Housing professionals have been saying for several years that on the current trajectory, housing will become increasingly unaffordable, leading to rising homelessness, ...

  • Benefit Cap: Abandoning those in greatest need

    Today the final stage of the Benefit Cap roll-out starts. The 40 Local Authorities hardest hit by the Cap will begin to cut families benefits. The Cap is being presented “as fair to the taxpayer”, yet is seven times more likely to affect a child than an adult – it is exquisitely unfair to impoverished ...

  • Speaking of Community – Prosperity, Biblical Economics and the Housing Crisis

    One fundamental reason the housing crisis is so intractable is that the kind of thinking that works for personal bank balances often fails when it comes to community. Even those who believe in financial equality and redistribution to alleviate the social injustice of poverty frequently see ‘society’ as just a word for the aggregate of ...

  • IDS’s Sloppy Statistics on the Bedroom Tax

    In today’s Daily Telegraph, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith claims that £155 million has been allocated by the Government to help local authorities assist those worst affected by the new ‘Bedroom Tax’ (a £14 a week levy on council and housing association tenants who are judged to be living in a home ‘too ...

  • Poverty and Homelessness Action Week: 26 January – 4 February 2013

    ‘Can you cast the first stone?’ Are people to blame for being poor or homeless? Poverty and Homelessness Action Week 2013 tells stories that don’t suit the press agenda. It’s time for churches to speak out against the blame game. Resources for the Week include worship materials, DVD telling the stories, information about the issues and ...

  • London housing crisis – action

    The 10 October 2012 conference The Housing Crisis in London: mobilising the church brought together the Housing Justice, The London Church leaders group for social action, and the Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches to consider the key issues of the housing crisis in London. The London housing crisis is now recognised to be a matter ...

  • The Housing Crisis in London: Mobilising the Church

    Conference held on 10.10.12 This is the report from the conference of the same name organised by Housing Justice, the London Churches Group for Social Action and the Methodist/Baptist/URC Joint Public Issues Team on 10th October, World Homeless Day. The conference was called in response to the growing shortage of affordable housing in London, now at crisis ...

  • High Income Social Tenants: Pay to Stay Consultation

    12 September 2012 Response by the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and the Baptist Union in Great Britain Question 1: Do you agree with the principle that very high earners living in social housing should pay higher than social rents? 1. No. This would be a very dangerous and divisive principle to adopt. It could be argued ...

  • More than Bricks and Mortar?

    The mission of the Church involves constantly seeking to engage with the world outside, and work tirelessly to perform acts of mercy and justice. So what do the people of a church do when demand for housing outstrips the supply; when the cost of housing rises faster than the average pay packet; and when the need ...

  • Housing worthy of the Olympics?

    The London Borough of Newham has been in the news for various reasons in recent weeks. Newham Council’s plans to move social tenants into housing association properties in Stoke-on-Trent (170 miles away) were widely condemned. As stated in the Guardian Newham Council’s justification was that ‘rent rises linked to the Olympics and the demand for housing from ...

  • The Housing Crisis

    The word ‘crisis’ is overused, but the National Housing Federation’s warning of a coming housing crisis is not so much alarmist, as inevitable unless a fundamental change of policy takes place. Beyond the lesser crisis for party politics and middle-class aspiration, there is a growing threat of increased poverty and homelessness due to the shortage ...

  • A sickness in society – I blame the politicians (and their parents).

    The knee-jerk call to remove social housing from people who were involved in recent rioting may be populist but is a great example of why the poorest continue to get poorer and are badly served by politicians. A further call to remove benefits from rioters has not been implemented – yet – but is receiving ...

  • Parliament to vote on radical housing reform measures before consultation has ended

    On Monday afternoon, Parliament voted on radical social housing reform measures in the Localism Bill more than two hours before the consultation on the measures was due to end, making it impossible for consultation responses to influence the vote.Housing Justice, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, and the United Reformed Church have ...