how can churches respond to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing report?

“Coming Home”, a report which is the culmination of the work of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, was released on 21st February 2021.

The Commission launched in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017, which has became a symbol of our country’s continuing housing crisis and a stark reminder of how we have marginalised whole sections of the population in sub-standard housing.

Whole sections of our society, including people of all ages, are affected by the housing crisis, but those caught in poverty bear the brunt of this injustice.

The scale and consequences of the housing crisis have been further exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is a national scandal.

This major report asks: what can we all do to change this?

What’s in the Report

The ‘Coming Home’ report:

  • Provides a Christian vision for ‘good’ housing, based around five core values

  • Applies this vision to re-orient the Church’s response, addressing how National Church Institutions and Dioceses can be positioned as significant contributors to resolving the crisis by facilitating good housing and creating and sustaining strong communities

  • Equips the Local Church to meet local housing needs and strengthen their communities

  • Offers policy recommendations to Government, the housing sector and other stakeholders so that together we can bring about the necessary change

You can read the full report, or an executive summary here,.

A vision for “good” housing

We need to build, not just more houses, but stronger communities. Based on Christian thinking, “Coming Home” identifies 5 core values that will set a new standard for what good housing should look like:

1. Safe

2. Stable

3. Sustainable

4. Sociable

5. Satisfying

The Commission is asking all of us to share these far and wide.

The Archbishop of Canterbury presents a film setting these out, which can be shared, here.

How to Respond

There Commission has collated some brilliant useful responses compiled here.

In particular, for the local church, our friends at Housing Justice have partnered with the Commission to produce this extremely practical guide: “Your Response to Local Housing Need”

For further study there are a wealth of resources produced, including a book, a new Grove Booklet, Bible study materials, podcast and videos.

There are also some inspiring blogs around the #housingcrisis from churches across the UK here

A Church Times Article by the Rt Revd Graham Tomlin published in the run up to the report launch is here.

Will you join us to pray?

The housing crisis in London can seem too large for any of us to tackle. Yet whatever else we are called to do: we can all pray.

Compassionate Communities is launching a monthly prayer bulletin, committing to pray for:
those who are leading the charge on tackling the housing crisis, at all levels; for the newly appointed Bishop for Housing, the Right Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani; and also for specific church projects that are seeking to use their land and assets to seek to tackle the housing crisis.

If you would like to stand in prayer with us and join the mailing list, or you have something we should be praying about, please get in touch here. Our first prayer bulletin will be sent out in the week of the 21st Feb.

so what next?

  • Share the vision of “good” housing- with your council, MP and others

  • Read the report, and the resources to go with it

  • Ask: is there more that my church, deanery, or Area could do? What would change things in my parish for those who are in unstable, unsafe homes?
    Could you look at the Housing Justice “What You Can Do” resource together with other in your church or community and start conversations?

  • Pray: join our prayer bulletin list for monthly updates as a commitment to pray for this issue and those involved