Here's a good idea from a department that hasn't had many until recently. The local Washington, D.C. government has announced plans to renovate hundreds of vacant homes and sell them to low and middle-income families. It's a partnership with a coalition of churches, private lenders and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The initiative is called "building a better community." It calls for HUD to sell 300 houses it owns at a discount to the church association for community services. The church association will renovate the houses and sell them to families, most at below-market rates.
This is a good idea of several levels. First, home ownership can be a ticket out of poverty. Second, pride of ownership means it is likely the owners will take care of the homes and improve the neighborhood, thus lifting the economic vitality of the neighborhood and its tax base. The houses are doing no one any good in government's hands. This is a great partnership between church and government.