Housing White Paper

Government finally released their Housing White Paper in February with the stark acknowledgement that we have a broken housing market.

Many of the problems are ones we, and others in the industry more widely, have highlighted before, and it is encouraging that the government recognises this. We don’t build enough homes, we don’t build those homes fast enough, and there is not enough protection for a growing number of people in the private rented sector. The term ‘affordable’ is also broken.

However, this was a landmark opportunity for a government in power, in such a position of authority in the polls, to have made some big changes to the scale of housebuilding outside of the main cities in this country. Sadly, it looks as though the large scale changes needed will not happen.

For a full summary and analysis (as well as a compilation of analyses from other industry experts) please click on the link here.

A Place To Call Home

With many churches finding themselves called upon to offer practical support to those in housing crisis, four leading UK churches, Housing Justice and Scottish Churches Housing Action, have called upon their congregations to hold conversations around housing and homelessness in the UK.

A new resource of bible studies “A Place to Call Home” has been launched this week and available on the JPIT website. Perhaps you could use them for your Lent reflections?

The resource has been created by JPIT, the Joint Public Issues Team who work on behalf of the leading non-conformist churches to tackle issues including poverty, peace and the environment from a faith perspective.

“They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.” (Isaiah 65:21) (NRSV)

These words, written by the prophet Isaiah, look forward to God’s coming kingdom as one that will include secure housing and fruitful enterprise. This makes housing a key topic for Christians. God’s vision of society is one where everyone is cared and provided for, not where some place their own needs and priorities above the well-being of all.

Since 2010 there has been a steady increase in the number of families accepted as homeless and in those living in temporary accommodation. Recently, street homelessness has begun to increase dramatically. Churches across the UK are increasingly having to provide support for vulnerable people in housing crisis as the Government’s welfare safety net is withdrawn.

The resource does not seek to prescribe a solution but to motivate and inform local Christians so that they can develop an appropriate response locally to their own situation by applying the principles of Scripture.

Topics for discussion include:

  • Houses as a home and the building blocks of communities with Christian values at their centre
  • How good should housing be and the impact of substandard housing
  • The shortage of affordable housing
  • The changing nature of home where one part of society sees it as an un-achievable basic of life while others view it as property and a financial opportunity

You can access the resource here

Do I Know You? - Salisbury Cathedral, 2-8 March

Identity and homelessness lie at the heart of a new film installation that will be show in Salisbury Cathedral from 2-8 March as part of the Cathedral’s 2017 Memory and Identity season.

Wiltshire artist Susan Francis’ film installation Do I Know You? is part of a wider project called Word on the Streets, inspired by conversations and creative sessions carried out with homeless people in the Salisbury area over a period of eight years. 

The idea behind the project is to take the films Susan made in response to stories she heard in shelters and drop in centres, play them back on the streets from where they had come. 

In addition to the film installation in the Cathedral Cloisters, a series of short films made for the Word on the Streets by Susan Francis will be projected around the city centre and form part of a special city walk. Those wishing to take part should meet at Salisbury Arts Centre at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 22 February where the tour starts.

Do I Know You? Salisbury Cathedral’s film installation launches on Wednesday 1 March and runs until 8 March in Salisbury Cathedral’s South Cloister. It will remain in place during the annual Alabaré Sleep Out, which is being held in the Cathedral Cloisters on Friday 3 March this year. Funds from the Sleep Out go towards the work Alabaré does with vulnerable and homeless people. Last year nearly 200 people joined the Sleep Out to raise fund to support the charity’s work.

Salisbury Arts Centre is also holding a panel discussion entitled Upending the Pyramid on Wednesday 1 March at 7 pm. Panellists will discuss issues of identity and homelessness raised by Susan’s project, as well as exploring the role that art can play in raising and addressing those issues. 

Link here for more details

STATE OF THE NATION: EXCHANGES ON HOMELESSNESS WITH MUSEUM OF HOMELESSNESS - Tate Modern - 8th-9th April 2017

This State of the Nation weekender at Tate Exchange brings together a rich mix of perspectives on homelessness from a range of guests including artists, people with experience of homelessness and politicians.

There is a programme of events:

  • State of the Nation – Conversations: Guest speakers including journalists, politicians and artists discuss issues around homelessness
  • Music to Inspire: Join the Choir with No Name and musicians from the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the West London Day Centre for an afternoon of singing and new music
  • Man on Bench Catwalk: A fashion show crafted from rubbish thrown away on London’s streets


Link here for more details