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‘Yes in God’s Backyard’ movement could create more affordable housing

MFPRO+ News

‘Yes in God’s Backyard’ movement could create more affordable housing

Churches converting their property to residential use can have real impact on housing crisis


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | June 24, 2024
Image by Peter H from Pixabay

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

The so-called “Yes in God’s Backyard” (YIGBY) movement, where houses of worship convert their properties to housing, could help alleviate the serious housing crisis affecting many communities around the country.

Jurisdictions including San Diego, Washington state, Atlanta, San Antonio, Hawaii and New York have either passed laws streamlining approval for new projects on land owned by churches or are considering them. In March, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the Yes in God’s Backyard Act in Congress to support these projects nationwide.

With church membership and donations declining, churches, mosques, and temples are closing, leaving buildings and properties unused. Converting them for affordable housing is seen as a way to further a religious organization’s mission.

Up to one-third of all houses of worship in the United States could close in the next few years, or about 100,000 churches, synagogues, and mosques. One estimate is that more than 47,000 acres of land owned by faith-based organizations across the U.S. could potentially be developed into affordable housing.

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