A Form of Prayer: Open Letter to Cube Housing Association & Laura Henderson
Laura Henderson Photo: Cube Housing Association
I remarked today to a fellow tenant (or “customer,” as you call us) that communicating with Cube is a bit like praying. But then I corrected myself, because when praying we do not know for certain that no one is listening or that our supplications will be ignored — which we can be certain of when communicating with you.
Like God, there is much debate about whether Cube exists in more than name, especially now that you have decided to become part of Glasgow Housing Association.
After I wrote and published this, about the filthy conditions in the Wyndford high flats, and how your managing director, Laura Henderson, ignores messages from “customers,” I sent the link to Ms Henderson. Of course she did not reply. Nor did she reply to my post about her lack of reply.
But, with new questions to ask, I am, like a pilgrim praying in the desert, writing to you once again.
I am confused because two days ago I visited another building in the Wyndford, 60 Glenfinnan Road. It looked nice from the outside, but I expected to find the same filth and faeces that I documented in 151 Wyndford Road. Then I went inside, to every one of the 14 floors, and discovered it was clean enough throughout to be a showpiece.
Stairs at 160 Glenfinnan Road
Stairs at 151 Wyndford Road
Lift at 160 Glenfinnan Road
Lift at 151 Wyndford Road
It took a day to get over my surprise. Then, today, I visited two of the nearby 14-floor blocks, and found them to be as immaculate as 160 Glenfinnan Road. I wondered who was cleaning them — surely not the same people who supposedly clean the 20-floor blocks? — but tenants informed me that, yes, you, Cube, are doing the cleaning.
I spoke to another “customer” about the discrepancy. He told me, “They [the 14-floor blocks on Glenfinnan Road] tend to get better treatment.” Why? “I think it's the demographics. Those are all two-bed flats. Lots of families and working people. Back blocks used to be very hard to let till the bedroom tax. They think of them as the junky flats. Still a local name for them. Not the case anymore, of course, but you know how organisational culture dies hard. It is also true that there are lots of transient people in the blocks and many with issues, filled off the homeless list.”
The high flats are supposedly cleaned on Tuesdays. Today is a Tuesday, and at 4pm they were as filthy as ever.
So, hoping your silence has been a test of faith, I ask you:
Why are the Glenfinnan Road flats being cleaned so thoroughly, and the Wyndford Road high flats, a few minutes' walk from them, being left full of litter, dirt, spilled liquids, and faeces?
Do you contract the same people to clean all the blocks? If not, by what criteria do you decide which contractor is assigned to which blocks? If so, what is the cause of the difference in standards? Is this incompetence, or classism?
Whatever the answers, or the likely lack of answers, to these questions, one thing seems clear: You call us customers, not tenants, so it is time for us to act like customers, and demand that you provide the services we pay for.
Yours faithfully, Greum Maol Stevenson