notes from the northern colony

CubeHousingAssociation

Wyndord tower block, sunset

Three days ago, on Monday morning, I learned that Glasgow Housing Association plans to destroy the community I live in.

This explains why neither Cube Housing Assocation, nor its new owner, GHA, has cleaned the tower blocks in Wyndford for many months, while still cleaning the other buildings in the scheme, as I have reported here. On hearing the news, my wife, daishin, said: “I think GHA's lack of cleaning, building maintenance, and the continued lack of repairs in the high flats is a strategic move to make tenants want to leave the Wyndford.”

On Tuesday, members of Wynford Tenants’ Union, residents of the blocks that are to be demolished, held a meeting, outdoors, to decide what to do.

On Wednesday, I was interviewed by Glasgow West End Today about our plans. The article is a refreshing corrective to the one published in the Glasgow Times, which is effectively an ad for GHA.

GHA’s brochure is a work of weird fiction. The reality is that the four blocks of high flats are populated by a wonderful, diverse community. There are people who have lived here for decades, people who have lived here for years (like me), and people who have been here a short time and will move on soon. There are people of all ages, and more nationalities than I can keep track of. The reputation for criminality is mostly mythical. When we were offered our flat in 2017, I asked the housing officer how dangerous it really was. Her answer: “Nothing will happen to you here that couldn’t happen to you in Bearsden.” She was correct. What I was not prepared for, though, was the warmth and grace daishin and I have found here.

Bizarrely, GHA is letting everyone who lives in Wyndford, not just tenants of the high flats, but all tenants, and homeowners, vote on the fate of our flats. How would you feel if everyone in your neighbourhood was allowed to vote to evict you from your home, whether they knew anything about you or not?

GHA will soon learn the truth about the people who have made our homes in the buildings they are describing as “low demand” and “low occupancy.” We will support one another, and we will not go easily or quietly.

#wyndford #maryhill #glasgow #GlasgowHousingAssocation #CubeHousingAssociation #gentrification #landlordism #SocialHousing #DaishinStephenson #ScottishBlogs

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Filthy cotton bud on stair

I feel a strange sentimental attachment to this filthy cotton bud.

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A week after I asked Cube Housing Assocation about rumours from within that Managing Director Laura Henderson was to be laid off from her job, I received a response from Linzi Heggie, the organisation's Head of Housing Services. “In relation to your question about Laura Henderson, I can confirm that this information is false.”

#cubehousingassociation #wyndford #maryhill #glasgow #laurahendersoncubehousingassociation #scottishblogs #linziheggiecubehousingassociation

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Martin Armstrong

Cube Housing Assocation has a poster with the slogan Put Rent First. This inspired Wyndford Tenants' Union to create a poster of our own. Martin Armstrong, chief executive of the Wheatley Group, which owns Glasgow Housing Association, which Cube is now part of, isn't having to choose between rent, electricity, or food.

#martinarmstrong #cubehousingassociation #glasgowhousingassociation #wheatleygroup #landlordism #capitalism #socialhousing #wyndfordtenantsunion #livingrent

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UPDATE

Rumours from inside the organisation suggest why Laura Henderson has not responded to my recent questions; it may not be her concern anymore, as she, and the rest of Cube Housing Association's management, is said to be getting laid off as the organisation becomes part of Glasgow Housing Association.

“She's getting a golden handshake along with the rest of the managment there,” I was told.

I have emailed Ms Henderson to ask for confirmation, but previous form suggests a reply is unlikely. On the bright side, if she is no longer there, she will be no less answerable to Cube tenants than she has been for the past year.

#cubehousingassociation #wyndford #maryhill #glasgow #laurahendersoncubehousingassociation #scottishblogs #wyndfordtenantsunion

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Laura Henderson Photo: Cube Housing Association

Dear Landlords,

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.

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A week after I posted this, the stairwells and lifts in the high flats on Wyndford Road are no less manky. I sent the link to Laura Henderson, Cube's Managing Director, right after I posted it, but I have had no reply from her, or anyone else at Cube. I did not expect one, but I hoped to be wrong.

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This is after cleaning

In a time of plague, Cube Housing Assocation's neglect of the health and safety of its tenants is medieval.

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Photo: daishin

The message to Cube, the housing association that runs the Wyndford housing scheme, is clear this morning, written on the football pitch at the high flats: FREEZE RENTS.

#cubehousingassociation #wyndford #glasgow #freezerents #rentfreeze #scottishblogs

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This afternoon, members and allies of Wyndford Tenants' Union picked up broken glass and other litter in the housing scheme, a duty that is supposed to be performed by Cube Housing, and which tenants pay for in their rent.

Then we delivered the litter to Cube's office.

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