Churches that have long called for an increase in affordable housing have started taking matters into their own hands, the Washington Post reports: A growing number of them have launched their own housing projects, partnering with developers to build whole communities. Their weekly flow of donations allows them to qualify for financing, and the resulting real estate revenue diversifies church income and helps underwrite community programs like food banks.
The church developments are open to all, but are generally located close enough for parishioners who move in to walk to church. "We've always wanted to serve the whole man," says the pastor of a church that has just opened a 270-unit independent-living facility for seniors, complete with chapel. Churches acknowledge that the real estate industry is a risky one, but projects are continuing in the faith that the market will soon turn around.