Churches are taking a position on the frontlines of the affordable housing crisis, using their land to create new affordable housing developments.
According to a report from the World Economic Forum and The Reuters Foundation, churches around Washington, D.C., have begun to cobble together a new source of affordable housing supply using their land to stave off the affordable housing crisis.
Churches are usually centrally located with ample parking, which means they are prime candidates for redevelopment as affordable housing projects.
The success of some of these projects has begun to catch the eye of others looking for solutions to the affordability crisis, and according to the report, housing authorities in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Atlanta and Miami have expressed interest in replicating the model in their metros.
“There’s so much land owned by houses of worship anywhere you go in the country,” David Bowers of Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit focused on housing solutions, told World Economic Forum.
“If we could make the transfer rate 10% or 5%, that would be so much land that would suddenly become available for housing,” Bowers added.
As church attendance has dwindled and the affordability crisis has become more severe, turning church land into affordable has proven to help keep churches alive and house people in desperate need of an affordable home.