Greum Maol Stevenson

wyndfordtenantsunion

In this post, I wrote about Living Rent’s lack of action concerning the transphobia of a member of its staff, Nick Durie, and of the coup that removed Sam Sharp from his position as secretary of the WTU, followed by resignations of members that left only homeowners on the committee of a tenants’s union.

Some good news: Nick Durie is no longer employed by Living Rent, which has suspended the WTU committee from activity pending an investigation.

#LivingRentGlasgow #NickDurie #EllenorHutson #transphobia #bigotry #WyndfordTenantsUnion #SamSharp #ScottishBlogs

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people on tower block veranda holding living rent banner

This article by Connor Beaton on Living Rent’s failure to address a bigoted faction of its staff speaks for me.

I am a member of Living Rent (I was on the National Committee from 2020-2021, but decided not to stand for re-election) and of the Wyndford Tenants’ Union, though I am on the verge of leaving the latter, because it is currently only a vanity project for Nick Durie and Ellenor Hutson. I was on the WTU committee, but resigned because I was not told there was going to be a vote at the meeting at which Sam Sharp was ousted in a coup, so I did not attend.

Living Rent’s emphasis in dealing with bigots seems to be on “educating” such people out of such views. I think this is a dangerously flawed strategy. It assumes that everyone is equally well-intentioned, and that bigots simply need us to teach them how we are right and how they should be more like us. We do not extend this benefit of the doubt to landlords; rather than trying to educate them to stop exploiting their tenants, we seek to defeat them. Similarly, I have no interest in “discussion” with bigots — I want to defeat them. I want to stop them from causing harm. Dialogue with bigots is a luxury of the privileged, of those who are not actually being harmed by bigoted speech. To treat such people with “respect” is to treat the people they are harming with contempt.

On December 1, I wrote to LR’s National Organiser, its Glasgow City Head Organiser, and its National Secretary, expressing the above concerns and suggesting that the organisation’s lack of response, far from making this issue go away, had only intensified it, something that would obviously continue until honestly addressed. Since then, aside from suggestions that we have a meeting to discuss it, still unscheduled, it has not been addressed at all, so Mr Beaton’s article on the Republican Socialist Platform is necessary and valuable.

#LivingRentGlasgow #NickDurie #EllenorHutson #transphobia #bigotry #WyndfordTenantsUnion #SamSharp #ConnorBeaton #RepublicanSocialistPlatform #ScottishBlogs

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Yesterday, Linzi Heggie, Locality Housing Director at Glasgow Housing Association, admitted that the “consultation” with tenants as to whether the Wyndford high flats should be demolished will make no difference to the outcome.

Every household in the Wyndford, not just residents of the four tower blocks, but all tenants and homeowners in the area, has been sent a ballot on which they can vote on whether the buildings should be demolished. But, at a meeting with tenants at the Maryhill Hub, Ms Heggie was surprisingly candid about the outcome.

Norman Cunningham, a tenant who will lose his home in the demolition, asked Ms Heggie what would happen if residents voted against the plan. She repeated, twice, that most residents supported it. Mr Cunningham repeated his question, asking what would happen if most residents opposed the demolition. “Would it be stopped?” he asked.

“We would work with people to assess their needs,” Ms Heggie said.

I asked if this meant the demolition would go ahead no matter what. “We will talk to people about where they want to live after,” she said.

It was a rare moment of honesty for Ms Heggie that day. She was there with a housing officer supposedly to answer tenants’ questions about the “bright new dawn for the Wyndford.” But she ignored most questions, and simply repeated lines from the brochure GHA sent to tenants. It was hardly different from a recording being played.

She said everyone would be rehoused in the location, and type of house, they wanted. Mr Cunningham said he wanted to continue to live in a high flat in the Wyndford. “We’ve got high flats here,” Ms Heggie said. It was only when pressed that she admitted the flats were all occupied, but she said she expected there to be turnover. Enough turnover to rehouse more than 600 households? “Not everybody will want to stay in the Wyndford, or in high flats,” she said. She said the turnover rate in the high flats is 20%, while in the other blocks it is 7%.

Members of Wyndford Tenants’ Union and Living Rent have suggested that GHA’s plan is about gentrification, and that the new builds planned for the space currently occupied by the high flats will be unaffordable to the people who live there now. It was clear from Ms Heggie’s evasiveness that this is the case.

In response to questions from Sam Sharp, who emphasised that it is important to him to be near the city centre, as he works delivering food by bicycle, Ms Heggie said she could not promise that he would be rehoused in the Wyndford in a home with rent comparable to the one he is being kicked out of, but that there would be such flats available in other parts of the city. “So, you’re just going to keep moving us farther and farther out,” said Mr Sharp. Ms Heggie had no reply.

Another tenant asked how many new homes would be built. Ms Heggie said she did not know, and would not know until after a land evaluation. Asked whether the new homes would be social or private housing, she said it would be a mix, but did not give details. She said that tenants who want to live in high flats should consider Drumchapel or Knightswood, neither of which is near Maryhill, never mind the Wyndford, and far from central Glasgow. “You can take the bus into the city,” she said.

She asked a tenant if they had sent in their vote yet. The tenant said no, and Ms Heggie tried to convince them to cast their vote right then and there. “You can do it with us, today,” she said. The tenant declined, saying they needed more information.

But, by Ms Heggie’s own admission, it is clear that it does not matter how tenants vote. If the vote supports GHA’s proposal to demolish, GHA will demolish. If the vote rejects GHA’s proposal to demolish, GHA will demolish. The “consultation” is only a clumsy performance. The decision has been made, and its announcement in February 2022 is only a formality. The evictions will happen 9 or 12 months later, according to Ms Heggie.

“GHA cares, and will relocate you wherever you want,” Ms Heggie kept saying. A few people laughed, but not in amusement.

Linzi Heggie was Head of Housing Services at Cube Housing Association, before Cube was acquired by GHA, so it seems likely that this plan has been in place for a long time, and was part of the acquisition deal. When this was suggested to her, Ms Heggie said nothing. When Norman Cunningham compared it to the demolition of social housing on Collina Street and the Butney, and the subsequent selling off of the sites for private housing, she said, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

invitation to a public meeting on December 4 2021 at 1pm outside the Maryhill Hub to protest GHA's demolition of 600 homes

#LinziHeggieGlasgowHousingAssociation #WyndfordHighFlats #maryhill #glasgow #GlasgowHousingAssocation #CubeHousingAssociation #gentrification #landlordism #SocialHousing #SocialCleansing #classism #WyndfordTenantsUnion #LivingRent #ScottishBlogs

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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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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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In this post, I said it was disappointing that no SNP leaders attended the Vigil for the Valley in protest of Glasgow City Council's selling off a former social housing site to private bidders.

Today, Patrick Grady, MP for Glasgow North, responded:

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