The Housing Justice conference in Cumbria on Wednesday also investigated how churches and land can be used for affordable housing and vital community uses.
The leaders of the county's two largest Christian denominations, Bishop of Carlisle James Newcome and Cumbria Methodist district chairman Richard Teal, outlined how the church can use localism to create sustainable communities. Other delegates represented local government and social housing groups and developers.
Housing Justice was created in 2003 when the Catholic Housing Aid Society and the Churches National Housing Coalition merged. In January 2006 it expanded further when it merged with Church Action on Homelessness in London.
"We know that we need to dramatically increase the supply of affordable housing. Churches are uniquely placed in the community to support this aim where they have surplus assets," maintained Housing Justice deputy director Alastair Murray. "Providing housing is a very practical solution to creating social benefit and preventing rural hardship," he added.