Housing Justice

Funding at a glance

Programme: Nurturing Ideas to Change the Housing System
Amount: £642,453 grant
Approved: 2018
Timescale: Seven years
Status: Funding in progress
Phase: Decent Affordable Homes Phase Three

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Unlocking land to deliver more decent and genuinely affordable homes in Wales.

Strategic purpose

To deliver more decent and genuinely affordable homes in Wales by unlocking more land for development.

Why we are funding this project

Housing Justice’s Faith in Affordable Housing project has the potential to help dismantle one of the biggest barriers to creating more affordable housing: insufficient land. We also recognised an opportunity to take advantage of a favourable social housing funding context in Wales and believe that Faith in Affordable Housing is in a robust position to bring about systemic change in Wales.

We’ve co-created a major strategic change to the project that will allow our funding to go further, achieving greater scale, efficiency, and sustainability through the implementation of a new income-generating partnership model that will eventually enable the Faith in Affordable Housing project to become self-funded.

The project will seek to achieve a set of primary outcomes, including more effective partnerships being in place between the church and housing associations, increased recognition from the Welsh government of the value of small-site developments, and the new partnership model being financially sustainable.

Looking ahead, the project will continue generating evidence and testing its approach, breaking down further barriers to unlocking church land, and bringing about changes to land-disposal policies to enable churches to more easily convert land into affordable housing.

Project description

Launched in 2016, Housing Justice Cymru is the Welsh arm of Housing Justice, a Christian charity working to eliminate homelessness. Its Faith in Affordable Housing project works alongside churches of all denominations to release surplus land or redundant buildings to develop new social and genuinely affordable homes in South Wales.

Access to land is one of the biggest barriers to providing more homes in Wales, and every year, more and more of the 4,500 church buildings in the region close due to declining congregations.

Additionally, many churches are looking to reconfigure their existing facilities such that they become places of worship that are more flexible and that can serve their communities in multiple ways.

Faith in Affordable Housing facilitates working partnerships between churches, local authorities, and third sector organisations – acting as an ‘honest broker’ in negotiations to unlock and encourage the sale of surplus church land for development. It also provides support and advice to churches on the development process and charity law and acts as an advocate on their behalf to remove barriers to releasing land.

To date, the project has seen significant success. Notable achievements include increasing the number of church denominations engaged in the project from two to nine; creating 58 new affordable homes since 2018, with 49 more (as of 2022) under construction; and a pipeline of 364 homes, recognised by the Welsh government as one of Wales’s largest pipelines.

Back to funding 2016–present