ADVERTISING
 
Friday, November 22   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Society
Should Christians join social protests?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Jonathan Tame
 

Could the housing crisis strengthen welfare?

Like housing, social welfare provision is not just a financial problem; there are social and relational aspects to consider too.

JUBILEE CENTRE AUTHOR Jonathan Tame 12 FEBRUARY 2018 19:40 h GMT+1
great britain Houses near London, UK. / B. Martins (Unsplash, CC)

When the medieval city of Geneva faced a housing crisis, caused by the influx of fellow Protestants who were being persecuted in France, there was no more land in the walled city to build houses on.



So in the 1550s many took the radical and sacrificial step of adding an extra floor on top of their houses, in order to create room for another family.



Almost 500 years later and we have a housing crisis in Britain today. Our own crisis has complex causes, and different policy options are being debated, but building more houses remains a core part of any solution. Yet many existing residents oppose the expansion of housing near them – ‘not in my back yard’.



In the midst of this debate, we must remember that it’s not just the number of new homes that is important, but the type also. It is important not to just build homes for the first time buyers who are currently priced out of the market, because the cost of housing is not the only problem that needs to be tackled. Housing and welfare are intertwined.



Our recent Cambridge Paper looks at the long term sustainability crisis of providing social welfare in Britain. Centralised welfare services are being funded partly through government borrowing, but over the coming decades the ageing population will fuel demand for medical and social care and pensions, while the tax base is likely to decline with the relative size of the working population. Simply borrowing more cannot solve the problems, so what else can be done?



Like housing, social welfare provision is not just a financial problem; there are social and relational aspects to consider too. The number of people living alone is increasing, and there is an ‘epidemic of loneliness’ that is causing mental health problems. As our ‘Reimagining social welfare’ paper argues, there is a need to strengthen extended families, and housing can play a key role in this.



So is there a way to tackle both these problems together – the availability and affordability of housing, and the isolation and loneliness of so many people?  I suggest two ways this could happen.



Firstly, by building more multiple-dwelling houses. Instead of adding an extension to serve as a ‘granny flat’ for an elderly parent, more houses could be built with all the facilities for two separate living areas from the outset, on different floors. The smaller unit could at first be used by an adult child and their partner who want to set up home as a couple but cannot afford to. Years later, the tables would turn and the elderly parents could live in the smaller unit, while one of their children raises their own family in the larger part of the house.  Just as new housing developments will only be given planning permission if they include a certain percentage of affordable homes, a policy to build a small proportion of multiple dwelling homes could also be adopted.



Secondly, research has shown the numerous benefits of social interaction between old people and children. Both generations would benefit from a policy to build retirement homes close to primary schools; the mental and physical health of older people would improve with regular interaction with children, and some pressure on primary schools could be reduced if some older folks would volunteer to read regularly to children in the school.



The biblical social vision encourages us to think in terms of integrated, holistic responses to social issues, and although this is no quick fix solution, it’s worth pursuing it as one element of a long term strategy for families and communities to flourish.



Jonathan Tame, Director of the Jubilee Centre (Cambridge, UK).



This article first appeared on the Jubilee Centre website and was republished with permission.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Could the housing crisis strengthen welfare?
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Min19: Childhood, family and the church Min19: Childhood, family and the church

The first evangelical congress on childhood and family was held in Madrid. Pictures of the event, November 1-2.

 
IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’ IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’

Students, graduates and staff of the global evangelical student movement reflected together on how the books of Luke and Acts apply to today's universities.

 
Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission

Photos of the Lausanne Movement Global Workplace Forum, celebrated in Manila.

 
European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference

Images of the fifth EFN gathering. Experts, activists, counsellors and church leaders met in Pescara, Italy.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Kanye West sings to Jesus with inmates Kanye West sings to Jesus with inmates

The hip-hop artist and his gospel choir performed ‘Jesus Is King’ songs in a Houston prison. Images of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

 
How can we encourage believers to serve Jesus with us? How can we encourage believers to serve Jesus with us?

“It is not just pastors who do ministry. When the saints are doing the ministry too, the Body of Christ is build up and grows towards maturity in the faith”, says Greg Ogden, Chairman Global Discipleship Initiative.

 
Porn exploits victims of human trafficking Porn exploits victims of human trafficking

The European Freedom Network launches a new anti-trafficking campaign: “You have no way of knowing if the porn you are looking at is from someone who chose to be there or not”.

 

 

 
A tent of hope for Venezuelan refugees A tent of hope for Venezuelan refugees

Thousands still cross the border to Colombia every week, and many continue on foot into the interior. Christian young people have set up an aid station along the road.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.