Foxes Have Holes

Christian Reflections on Britain’s Housing Need

edited by Andrew Francis, foreword by Alison Gelder

Homes for all is a crucial concern across Britain. This important and timely book offers fresh perspectives, challenging insights and practical proposals for addressing housing needs. It has been written by professionals in the subject and policymakers, as well as church leaders and theologians. When political debate is polarised, the interests of people pushed to margins are often ignored. This book redresses the balance. It opens up opportunities for constructive partnerships for change across the community.

April 2016
PB, 158pp, 229 x 152 mm
£11.99, US$16.99, €15.49, CAN$23.49, AUS$22.49

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Andrew Francis is a community theologian, poet, environmentalist and retired United Reformed Church minister. His many other books include Shalom: the Jesus Manifesto (2016), Anabaptism: Radical Christianity (2010), Hospitality and Community After Christendom (2012) and What in God’s Name Are You Eating? (2014).

Contributors include a foreword from Alison Gelder of Housing Justice, the Anglican Bishop of Manchester David Walker, Trisha Dale, Sean Gardiner, Chris Horton, Paul Lusk, Helen Roe, Helen Woolley and Raymond Young.

If you care about others it is not enough to try to provide food banks, and to complain when government and others’ action or inaction impoverishes the population. You also have to be concerned with what everyone needs – which is a home. All our lives are harmed when others find it so hard to be safely housed. We need to question why rents are so high, why house prices are so high, and why respect and love for our neighbours appears has fallen so low. Professor Danny Dorling, Chair of Human Geography, Oxford University

Good housing is one of the foundations of good society. Poor housing damages health, limits the potential of young people and robs hope from those who have to live in it. This book is an important contribution to the debate about the future of housing and how we should be building to make lives better across the country for this and for future generations. Across Scotland, across the UK and across the world we have to be building a better tomorrow for the generations that follow us and decent housing has to be part of the foundations of that. Deidre Brock MP, Edinburgh North and Leith

Always honest, sometimes blunt, always thoughtful, sometimes challenging, these well-informed yet ultimately hopeful essays are a challenge to society to face some home truths and a challenge to the church to translate the worthy theology of heavenly believing into the practical ethics of earthly belonging. Rev Dr Sam Wells, vicar, St Martin-in-the-Fields, London

Thirty years ago, I recall writing an essay in which I argued that one of the litmus tests of the morality of a nation was the extent to which there was accessible and affordable housing for everyone. On that basis, the UK has become dramatically less moral since the 1980s. Foxes Have Holes is a timely and enlightening read, laying out a superb historical and contemporary analysis of the housing movement. It sets out why Christians, alongside others, must be committed to bringing about change and it articulates what needs to change and why. Above all, this book on housing is not about bricks and mortar but about a commitment to human flourishing. Read it and you will want to change things. Martin Johnstone, Secretary of the Church of Scotland’s Church & Society Council; he lives in a Glasgow tenement

Our country doesn’t face a single housing crisis, but multiple crises of affordability, availability, sustainability and suitability. Having a ‘home’ is central to our development and fulfilment as human beings, and therefore to the health of our communities. This collection of essays is a timely reminder of why we are where we are, and is a challenge to action for people of faith. Rachel Lampard, vice-president elect, Methodist Conference

Through working with networks supporting asylum seekers and refugees in finding accommodation, we know just how crucial decent, safe housing is – not least for people living at the edge. The priority of affordable homes for all lies at the heart of this book. I welcome its timely challenge to churches and politicians to invest in a livable future. Pat Bennett, programme development worker, Iona Community

Foxes Have Holes … is such an important document. The problem can’t be solved without intervention. To solve the housing crisis, you have to face up to a political crisis. Frank Cottrell Boyce, screenwriter, novelist and actor