A Place to Call Home

With many churches finding themselves calledupon to offer practical support to those in housing crisis, fourleading UK churches, with the support of the national Christiancharities, Housing Justice and Scottish Churches Housing Action,have called upon their congregations to hold conversations aroundhousing and homelessness in the UK.

A new resource of bible studies "A Place to Call Home" has beenlaunched today and available on the JPIT website: www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/aplacetocallhome. The resource has been created by JPIT, the Joint Public Issues Teamwho work on behalf of the leading non-conformist churches* totackle issues including poverty, peace and the environment from afaith 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'scoming kingdom as one that will include secure housing and fruitfulenterprise.  This makes housing a key topic for Christians.God's vision of society is one where everyone is cared and providedfor, not where some place their own needs and priorities above thewell-being of all.

Since 2010 there has been a steady increase in the number offamilies accepted as homeless and in those living in temporaryaccommodation.  Recently, street homelessness has begun toincrease dramatically. Churches across the UK are increasinglyhaving to provide support for vulnerable people in housing crisisas the Government's welfare safety net is withdrawn.

The resource does not seek to prescribe asolution but to motivate and inform local Christians so that theycan develop an appropriate response locally to their own situationby applying the principles of Scripture.

Topics for discussion include:

  • Houses as a home and the building blocks of communities withChristian values at their centre.
  • How good should housing be and the impact of substandardhousing.
  • The shortage of affordable housing.
  • The changing nature of home where one part of society sees itas an unachievable basic of life while others view it as propertyand a financial opportunity.

The Revd Phil Jump, who wrote the resourceworks as an interim Public Issues officer with the Baptist Union,commented;

"This is more than a crisis of bricks and mortar, it affects andblights the lives of many people. Being forced to live insub-standard housing or struggling with unmanageable housing costsaffects the lives of families across the United Kingdom. Theseconditions stifle the development of children, and passdisadvantage to the next generation. These are all realities thatChristian citizens will find themselves confronted with.

"Many within our congregations may well be struggling to affordthe housing they need, some within our communities may even look tolocal churches for help. There are also some quite remarkablesuccess stories about how churches over many decades have providedhousing and homes, particularly for those who are most vulnerablein our society."

Welcoming this new resource, Alison Gelder,Chief Executive of Housing Justice, the national Christian voice onhomelessness and housing and one of the organisations who havesupported the resource, said:

"Housing Justice is delighted to see these new Bible Studies onhomeless, published by the Joint Public Issue Team.

"Church members can often see the effect ofhomelessness as they walk to and from their place of worship eachweek. But, how often do we take time to reflect theologically onthis subject, looking to see what God says on the matter?

I encourage Christians of all traditions totake some time, especially as we approach Lent, to use thesematerials in their small groups."


The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, theMethodist Church and the United Reformed Church collaboratetogether on issues of justice and inequality as part of the JointPublic Issues Team. For more information, please visit www.jointpublicissues.org.uk