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October 22, 2008

Too little too late – GHA starts to deliver on second stage transfer

When Glasgow Housing Association was set up, the deal was that it would take the housing stock from Glasgow City Council for a period of time before overseeing a second stage of transfer into much smaller, community owned housing associations. It’s this second set of transfers that has been stalled. Lots of excuses but none that seem to make any sense. Now, the tenants in Shettleston and five other areas of Glasgow have been given the chance to vote for community ownership

Marianne Taylor, Evening Times

A CAMPAIGN to persuade hundreds of tenants in the East End to say yes to community ownership has been launched.

Residents in Shettleston – and five other areas of Glasgow – will be balloted next month on whether they want their homes to be transferred from GHA to smaller, locally-based landlords.

Shettleston Housing Association say the transfer would benefit all tenants and will spend the coming weeks campaigning for a yes vote – complete with specially emblazened, environmentally friendly shopping bags.

The association wants to take control of almost 900 rundown properties in Shettleston and South Greenfield.

It has promised to spend millions upgrading them with new kitchens, bathrooms, roofs, windows and cladding for 750 homes.

Part of the transfer plan would see 150 derelict homes in Pettigrew Street demolished, with 90 new homes built in their place.

They have also vowed not to raise the rents of those transferring for at least three years, and say tenants will benefit from more local accountability.

It seems their message is becoming increasingly popular with residents.

Tenants Mamie Hain and Morag Allan, both pensioners, have lived in Etive Street for more than 40 years between them.

Mamie, 71, said: “I’m definitely going to be voting yes. We see improvements going on elsewhere in Shettleston and we want to see the benefit of them too.

“The only way I can see that happening is if my home is transferred.”

Morag, 64, added: “Most people I’ve spoken to are going to vote yes. We’ve been forgotten for years and have waited long enough for change.”

Tenants in four other Local Housing Organ isations – Ardenglen, Castle Stewart, Crossview and Hyndland (Glasgow West) – will also be given the chance to vote.

Tenants will have a three week period, due to start on November 17, to cast their vote.

If successful, homes could be transferred as early as March 2009.

These five areas are the first in the city to proceed to the next stage of community ownership.

A further 31 LHOs – who manage almost 21,000 homes on behalf of GHA – are waiting to hear whether tenants will get to decide on stock transfer, the process known as Second Stage Transfer.

Chris Cunningham, director of Shettleston Housing Association, said: “We believe the transfer is in the best interests of the GHA tenants, the association and the wider Shettleston community as a whole.”

Annie McAllister, chairwoman of Shettleston Local Housing Organisation, the body which currently manages the homes on behalf of GHA, fully supports the transfer.

She said: “The vote is very important for all of us. I hope that my neighbours and my fellow tenants in Shettleston and South Greenfield will vote yes.

“It is the right thing for our community and for all the tenants.”