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USING CHURCH ASSETS FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING. Alastair Murray Housing Justice. How did FiAH evolve?. Ecumenical research group Archbishops’ Commission on Rural Areas (1990) Churches National Housing Coalition (1994) Affordable Rural Housing Commission (2006)

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Using church assets for affordable housing

USING CHURCH ASSETS FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Alastair Murray

Housing Justice


How did fiah evolve
How did FiAH evolve?

Ecumenical research group

  • Archbishops’ Commission on Rural Areas (1990)

  • Churches National Housing Coalition (1994)

  • Affordable Rural Housing Commission (2006)

  • Scottish Churches Housing Action (2006)

  • Building and Social Housing Foundation (2007)


Fiah guide purpose
FiAH guide purpose

Demonstrate practical Christian concern

Help and advice for churches including good practice guidelines

Provide solutions to some problems faced by churches

Meets both social and pragmatic objectives

Encourage partnership opportunities


Methodology
Methodology

Survey to property personnel of main Christian denominations (March 2008)

12 C of E dioceses that had sold or leased land since 1 Jan 2000 solely for affordable housing

4 C of E dioceses, 2 Methodist churches and a United Reformed church that had converted buildings into AH

Site visits

Desktop research of technical info

Correspondence with Charity Commission


Survey obstacles to development
Survey – obstacles to development

Base for this question: 26 respondents (19 C of E)


Fiah guide contents
FiAH guide contents

PREPARING THE GROUND – What is AH and why is it needed, govt response, what churches can do, charity law

FOUNDATIONAL ISSUES – Policies relating to ownership, how property can be redeveloped (e.g. auditing, churchyards, listed buildings)

BRICKS & MORTAR – Organisations that can help

LETTING IN THE LIGHT – Determining viability, assessing need, planning considerations, valuing sites, financing schemes, tenure and occupancy

FRIENDS NEARBY – Contact info

GOOD NEIGHBOURS – Case studies

PRACTICAL RESOURCES (Appendices) – Health check form, checklist for action, glossary


What can churches do
WHAT CAN CHURCHES DO?

Need to fund mission/staff but also spiritual duty to use resources for those in need. Encourage a wider long-term view (including community interest & alternatives to selling outright)

Balance between social objective of valuing everyone and pragmatic objective of complying with charity law and maximising investment returns to keep the ministry running


Charity law
CHARITY LAW

  • Section 36 of the Charities Act (1993) – requires trustees to achieve the best terms

  • reasonably obtainable on disposal or, where the disposal is intended to further the objects

  • of the charity, that the disposal is expedient in the terms of the charity.

  • Different views – often means disposal at low cost limited to Exception Sites.

  • Confirmation – doctrine of Christianity enables the ‘best value’ test to be passed. Written

  • objectives do not need to provide specifically for those in housing need. If a disposal is

  • furthering a charity’s purposes, then it can be made at less than best price.

    • ‘Many people would understand that part of the doctrine of Christianity

    • is the assistance of poor and needy people and therefore activities

    • towards those ends could be seen as a means of advancing Christianity.’


Geographical focus east of england
Geographical focus: East of England

  • Note: FiAH project also responds (within capacity) to approaches from other parts of the country

  • Population 2nd fastest growing in any region, 25% increase by 2013

  • Average HP in 2010 = 10 x median regional income

  • Lack of church examples

  • Links with previous Bishop of Lynn


Case study 1 exeter diocese plymouth
Case Study 1 – Exeter Diocese (Plymouth)

Average Plymouth income = £23K, average house price = £168K (house price ratio almost 8 times average income)

Review of diocesan assets initiated by previous Bishop of Plymouth, Rt. Revd John Garton

A partnership was formed and charter drawn up to address large churches and need for AH

Arrangement with Sarsen HA exchanging old churches on 125 yr lease for newer, smaller ones, often with community space

Sarsen paid the diocese’s legal and design fees


St paul s church torridge way efford 2007 photo revd stephen payne

Post-war garden suburb

Efford Ward - one of the 20% most deprived in England and Wales

Community Forum obtained funding from SWRDA to create sustainable neighbourhood

St Paul’s Church, Torridge Way, Efford (2007)Photo: Revd Stephen Payne


St paul s church photo revd stephen payne

Demolished old church & hall and developed a new community building with a dedicated smaller space for a church

The old church was converted into a 40-flat Extra Care scheme

New church was built on old library site. New library built as part of Extra Care scheme

St Paul’s ChurchPhoto: Revd Stephen Payne


St barnabas church once the old church hall 2005

St Barnabas Church – once the old church hall (2005)



Case study 2 ambleside ecumenical parish centre
Case Study 2 - Ambleside Ecumenical Parish Centre site in 2005

South Lakes district - 3,500 holiday homes / 3,500 on its housing needs register (100 in Ambleside)

Houses around 11 times average income

Scheme initiated by Methodist minister

Provided capital to join with nearby Anglican church to build an ecumenical worship and community centre


Old ambleside methodist church 2006

Old Ambleside Methodist Church (2006)


Hallway to flats in old methodist church

Hallway to flats in old Methodist Church



Entrance to the new ecumenical ambleside parish centre

Entrance to the new ecumenical Ambleside Parish Centre


What next for fiah
What next for FiAH? community space

New Localism agenda – funding for affordable housing?

Tudor Trust grant funds staff time/resources for a 3 year programme – help for projects in early stages

Role of regional Housing Associations - other partners

Identify and publicise further case studies (egFishergate Baptist Church, Preston)

Develop comprehensive national database

Events, Conferences e.g. Today!


Any questions

Any questions? community space

Housing Justice

22-25 Finsbury Square,

London EC2A 1DX

www.housingjustice.org.uk

Alastair Murray

a.murray@housingjustice.org.uk

020 7920 6600