Glasgow housing stock transfer may be scrapped.
Glasgow Housing Association may scrap its plans to place its housing stock under community ownership, with the move being blamed on soaring costs.
Creating self-sufficient Local Housing Organisations (LHOs) was one of GHA’s primary stated aims. It was hoped this ‘second stage transfer’ of stock would empower tenants. But sources close to the organisation indicate the cost of creating the LHO’s has become prohibitive.
GHA, a registered social landlord, took over the city council’s 80,000 housing stock – the largest of any city in Europe – in 2003. It says it is still committed to a ballot on community ownership next year as its first move towards the breaking up of its housing stock.
But there is growing frustration over the issue of community ownership. Alan Benson, secretary of the Glasgow and West of Scotland housing association forum, said,
‘The timescales seem increasingly unlikely and that has been our concern for some time. GHA has decided to have seven pilot local housing organisations (preparing for second stage transfer).
‘We are looking to have a dialogue with GHA about accelerating the process as soon as possible. We understand that they remain committed to second stage transfer, but it appears that they do not have the necessary processes in place for that. The entire issue remains a source of frustration for all of our members.’
Two years on from the take-over of the city’s housing stock from Glasgow City Council by GHA, it is argued that little has changed beyond the name on the door. The staff is largely the same, and much of the upkeep is still carried out by council workmen. Tenants have little say over what is done in the way of maintenance of properties.
There are also worries about whether there will be an effective and economically viable infrastructure for managing the city’s housing needs if and when GHA has withered away (according to plan).
GHA reaffirmed its dedication to the policy of stock transfer but refused to be drawn on exact dates.
A Communities Scotland spokesman said that Malcolm Chisholm, communities minister, told housing organisation representatives this week that he was committed to second stage transfer being delivered.
He added: ‘Communities Scotland will be continuing to work with the GHA on this basis.’
Sources: Herald, Scotsman