Allentown Council person Daryl Hendricks has indicated several times that he's concerned about the large number of vacant churches in the Queen City. They often fall into disrepair and become fire hazards. Allentown's problem is by no means unique. Churches are being shuttered, not just in the Lehigh Valley, but across the country. According to ICMA, approximately 100,000 of the nation's 384,000 houses of worship will be closed within the next few years. Why not use them for low and moderate-income housing?
Churches are closing because less than half of us consider ourselves church members.
These have often served as sanctuaries for those who've fallen on hard times, with food banks and soup kitchens. Church basements have often been used as community centers.
While each situation is different, I believe many churches can be repurposed to provide community centers, senior centers, gyms for urban youth and apartments for low and middle-income renters. Ideally, the repurpose would continue some of the functions previously provided by a church.
Some Allentown activists have suggested tiny homes. I have often advocated their use, and not just fior the homeless. But that should be just one solution. Repurposing vacant churches could get them on tax rolls and provide decent homes.