FIJI'S largest Christian denomination has plans to provide housing assistance to members of the church who live in squatter settlements.
Close to 700 church members in Suva live in these settlements, particularly in the Suva-Nausori corridor, according to the newly-appointed general secretary Reverend Tevita Nawadra.
And this has prompted church leaders to look into the church's vacant lands to which its members could relocate under a low-cost housing scheme.
The squatter issue was brought to church president Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu's attention on the last day of the annual general conference at the Centenary Church in Suva yesterday.
"We are trying our best to help our members because we're concerned about their welfare," Mr Nawadra said.
He said they had learnt from previous years when people from as far as Vanua Levu who were not church members relocated to church land in Davuilevu without proper approval.
Mr Nawadra explained that some people were also collecting money on the church's behalf from these tenants.
Therefore, he said, they needed to settle an agreement suitably for members who would respect the landowners, which in this case was the church.
Mr Nawadra said the church was present in almost all squatter settlements in Fiji and this indicated the number of members living in informal settlements.
While some members highlighted the assistance provided by the government to squatting families, some felt the church had failed in its calling to ensure the safety and welfare of the congregation.
Mr Nawadra hopes to settle an agreement as soon as possible by collecting relevant data on its members and the form of assistance that could be provided for them.