Faith institutions partner with developers and government to build affordable housing

As cities have experienced a renaissance in recent decades, many have taken up the economic, social, and moral questions surrounding the process of gentrification. As residents that have called their neighborhoods home for generations face economic displacement, and low-income workers who make the growth of cities possible cannot find affordable housing near their jobs, faith communities and others have taken up the cause in many forms - services to low-income neighbors, advocacy for affordable housing, and more. One particularly creative approach is gaining steam - using land owned by faith institutions to increase the stock of affordable housing. Read about how churches in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area are forging multi-million dollar partnerships with private developers and government to build housing on their land in this article from the Washington Post

Bowers said the Mid-Atlantic region has become a national leader in this arena, pioneering a faith-based solution to the dearth of affordable housing that advocates across the country are beginning to imitate. He and others at Enterprise, which formed its Faith-Based Development Initiative specifically to encourage this tactic in 2006, hope to bring the strategy to major cities across the nation.

Proponents say churches are ideally suited to build affordable housing. Houses of worship often sit on valuable land but are less concerned with cutting the best deal possible, thus minimizing costs borne by nonprofit developers. And, for churches faced with shrinking congregations and underutilized buildings, installing affordable units offers a fresh infusion of cash and a better way to serve the community, backers say.

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Learn more about the Faith-Based Development Initiative of Enterprise Community Partners.

And check out this creative approach by one congregation in Washington, DC, to support other congregations to get involved in this affordable housing movement:

Just Homes - Just Homes is a housing initiative of The District Church that seeks to connect the most vulnerable residents of the District of Columbia with justice housing by helping build justice housing on vacant church-owned land, investing locally in justice housing endeavors, and serving low-income households in our community as they make their house a home.