This article looks at the 'Coming Home' Report, recently published by the Church of England addressing the current housing crisis in this country.
The Commission of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on Housing, Church and Community have recently published a report, known as the 'Coming Home' Report (the 'Report'). The Report addresses the housing crisis in the UK and calls for a national plan to tackle the issue.
This article will summarise the main points highlighted in the Report and provide an overview of the recommendations that the Report makes with the aim of alleviating the current situation.
The current issue
The Report highlights various issues with the current housing situation, focusing on the fact that currently around 8 million people in England live in overcrowded, unaffordable, or unsuitable homes. The Report emphasises that those caught in poverty bear the brunt of this issue and that the devastating effects of the COVID-19 crisis have only made matters worse. The Report argues that there is currently a correlation between poor housing, race, poverty, and health making it incredibly difficult for those in need to solve the problem for themselves.
The Report suggests five core values that should be adopted and that set a new standard for what good housing should look like. The Report argues that all homes should be sustainable, safe, stable, sociable and satisfying.
Recommendations for the Church
It is estimated that the Church of England owns around 105,000 acres of land across the country. The Report recommends that the Church should commit to using this land to promote more truly affordable homes, through developments that deliver on the five core values mentioned above. Local parishes and dioceses are also encouraged to 'respond creatively' to use their land and buildings to further the cause and to reduce the barriers to using Church land for social housing development.
Recommendations for the Government
The Report acknowledges that action from the Church alone will not be sufficient to solve this crisis and asks for more long-term, bold and coherent commitments from the Government focused on those with the greatest need.
It is suggested that, as well as improving the quality and environmental sustainability of the existing housing stock, there should be a 20-year strategy to increase the supply of truly affordable homes, backed by a substantial increase in public capital investment and a phased reduction in the price of land. The Report argues that building more homes is not the answer on its own and that more thought needs to be given to whether those in need can afford the homes which are being built and, if not, how this issue can be addressed.
Whilst the Report emphasises the need for long-term solutions, it acknowledges that short-term changes are also important, highlighting current failings in our social security system in relation to housing support for a large number of low-income households.
The Report also speaks to homeowners, landowners, developers and landlords, arguing that we have a collective responsibility to address this issue. Further, the Report argues that more must be done to provide safer and more stable homes for people who currently rent by ensuring longer-term security of tenure, introducing an explicit duty of care on landlords, and improving the quality of temporary accommodation.
A role for community-led housing?
We very much welcome the findings of the Report. As a movement of people coming together to take action and to manage their own housing projects, we truly believe that community led housing has a huge role to play in meeting the recommendations, aims and aspirations of the Report, by delivering the decent and affordable homes that the country so desperately needs.
The full Report is available to view here. If you do have any questions regarding anything in this article or otherwise, please feel free to get in touch.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.