This means providing you with hands-on practical support and advice to help you and your church make the right decision before disposing of surplus assets. We link churches with local housing associations and facilitate discussions on selling or leasing land for affordable homes.
There is great need for more affordable housing in all areas of England and Wales and we believe the church can be part of the solution to housing need. We also help churches benefit from improved facilities through partnership working with affordable housing developers.
We help churches balance the desire to make a difference to communities, with being good stewards of church assets. We help churches ensure good governance by complying with the requirements of Charity Law if selling land or buildings for charitable purposes.
Our support includes attending church meetings to talk about the FIAH project, facilitating discussions between churches and housing associations and providing practical advice throughout the development process. We also have a strategic role which includes lobbying government on behalf of churches and helping denominations adopt a policy on land disposal for affordable housing.
Any support or advice we provide to churches is free of charge; however any donations toward the Faith in Affordable Housing project are greatly appreciated.
Find our Faith in Affordable Housing co-ordinators' contact details by clicking on Our staff or find out who's on our FIAH England steering group here.
Tell us about church owned land you think has potential for social housing development: Contact Housing Justice
Advice about the obligation of church trustees to obtain ‘best terms’ when disposing of land or buildings can be found in our briefing note.
The Charity Commission's Public Benefit: Rules for Charities reflects this guidance.
N.B. This advice is given as general guidance but should not be solely relied on. Trustees should consider taking legal advice in specific cases.
You can find answers to questions about developing affordable housing on church land in The Faith in Affordable Housing guide (2009). Affordable housing is housing owned or leased by housing associations and offered for sale or rent at below market price to people who cannot afford private sector housing.
Read a brief summary of the guide here.
Or look at separate sections of the guide by clicking the titles below:
Preparing the ground explains what affordable housing is, why it is needed and what churches can do to help. It clarifies charity law: that the doctrine of Christianity itself can enable the ‘best value’ test to be passed.
The section on ‘best value’ has been updated – see our briefing note
Foundational issues gives an outline of policies related to land ownership from different Christian denominations, and discusses how property can be developed, including auditing, redeveloping churchyards, handling listed buildings and technical issues.
Bricks and mortar details organisations and people that could assist with a project, from determining whether there is a need for affordable housing to developing properties and managing them once built.
Letting in the light considers whether the proposed development is viable. It discusses: assessing need; planning considerations; valuing sites; financing schemes; and establishing tenure and occupancy.
Friends nearby provides contact details for useful organisations, from homeless charities to denominational advisory and professional bodies.
Good neighbours details eight illustrated case studies across different denominations from urban and rural England. It includes good practice examples of innovative ecumenical projects, new-builds on church land and conversions of old churches to modern places of worship with affordable housing.
More examples of successful affordable housing schemes on church land can be found in these FIAH case studies:
Some additional resources you may find helpful include:
Our mission begins from the principle that everyone deserves a home that is suitable to their needs. Without a secure home no-one can flourish and become the person God created them to be.