North Wales housing group, Grŵp Cynefin, has been chosen to work alongside a leading housing charity as it looks to use church property to help tackle the affordable homes crisis.
Grŵp Cynefin which has offices in Llangefni, Penygroes, Bala and Denbigh, is to partner with Housing Justice Cymru as the organisation aims to turn churches and chapels across the country that have fallen into disuse into homes for communities.
The charity’s Affordable Housing Programme has helped build around 100 homes since it started in 2016, with a further 200 in the pipeline.
The majority are built in small developments of between five and seven properties on formerly church-owned brownfield sites.
Housing Justice Cymru has previously worked with approximately 25 different groups. However, by working with a smaller number of partners, it believes it can significantly increase the number of homes it creates.
So far, 12 sites have been identified across Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham.
Former Archbishop of Wales and chair of Housing Justice Cymru, Bishop John Davies, said: “This is a great opportunity for churches and housing associations to work together in a positive way to help beat one of the major social problems of our age.
“Everyone deserves a home, and we hope this project will produce more homes for those people in the most need here in Wales.”
Bonnie Navarro, director of housing for Housing Justice Cymru, said: “Following consultation with the social housing sector, the key message was that any process to identify future development partners should be transparent and fair.
“Importantly we want to work with those housing organisations with the financial capacity and skills to build new housing, but also ones with the right values about helping those in the most need. Something that every Christian organisation would support.”
Of the sites identified in North Wales, three are in Gwynedd and three in Conwy County Borough, with two each in Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham.
Gwyndaf Williams, development manager with Grŵp Cynefin, said: “There is a housing crisis across North Wales and we are pleased to be working with Adra and Housing Justice Cymru to meet the very big challenges in this area and especially those areas of housing stress where second homes have exasperated the housing problem.”