Action Guide: How to Save a House of Faith

The Manhattan Borough President’s Office and the NYU Wagner School of Public Service have written the Land Use & Zoning Action Guide for Religious Facilities. Bricks and Mortals, and our frequent collaborators Partners for Sacred Spaces, informed the work of the Action Guide which offers New York City houses of faith local examples of other houses of faith making property work for them. 

While the Action Guide is focused on housing of faith within Manhattan, the examples can be used through NYC and beyond. The Action Guide comes at a time when all houses of faith - mosques, synagogues, churches and others - are seeing a decline in membership nationwide. Coupled with real estate pressures in many American cities, houses of faith are struggling to survive. Reimagining the role of houses of faith is no easy task. 

According to the New York Times, 1% of congregations close annually. This pressure is even more pronounced in Black and brown neighborhoods. And many congregations find the technical hurdles associated with land use actions and redevelopment very arduous. The Action Guide outlines non-development alternatives. 

To find out more on Brick and Mortals' non-development work at Judson Memorial Church, read more about our work and the Partners for Sacred Spaces, visit their website:

Check out the complete Action Guide here on the Manhattan Borough President's website.


Office of the Manhattan Borough President

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