Whenever anyone enquires as to the background of Housing Associations the date of the 1960’s comes up as does a reference to the film, Cathy Come Home – described as a 1966 TV play on the descent of a young woman into homelessness.
As a result, organisations, charities and churches began to investigate ways of developing help for the homeless including a Hendon vicar’s wife which resulted in the formation of the Hendon Christian Housing Association.
Church members from Anglican, Methodist, Congregational and Roman Catholic churches discussed possibilities in committee and the firm of Estate Agents and Chartered Surveyors, Johnston Evans Horne & Co, provided professional support to develop housing association accommodation at reasonable costs.
In the 1960’s, houses typically cost less than £5000 with middle management salaries in the region of £1000 per annum. The HCHA received gifts, took mortgages, received grants from councils and governments and developed low cost housing – typically small houses converted in two flats - for occupation by residents having trouble finding a roof over their heads. Council and similar loans were often made in return for their priority over 50% of the accommodation.
In addition to single unit housing, major developments included the Grahame Park Estate development – land on a 99 year lease from the council and money from grants and loans – and Vernon House on land from St Matthias Church and money from grants and loans.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s Johnston Evans Horne changed partners and resulting in the company Martin Russell Jones providing support services to HCHA.
In 2012 Star Housing, which provides accommodation to partially sighted residents, in Barnet and Acton was seeking a merge. This led to a successful formal merger with HCHA who now control and own all of Star properties.
In the early years of the 21st century HCHA was run by a board of representatives from Barnet churches – typically Hendon Baptist Church, St Michael’s Church Mill Hill, St Paul’s Church Mill Hill – with volunteer board members, plus professional support by legal and accountancy consultants and Fifield Glyn (incorporating Martin Russel Jones) as managing agents.
In recent years, a professional chair with considerable housing association experience was appointed and two additional voluntary board members were recruited from industry. Many board members departed in line with the nine-year rule for board membership (leaving a board of six members) and Fifield Glyn continued as managing agents.
HCHA continued management of their existing properties with sufficient reserves to support maintenance and improvement. Acquisition of new properties remained a problem with development projects proving difficult with bids for land unable to match those of commercial developers. In summary, a viable and useful unit but treading water rather than progressing.
To ensure value for money for our tenants, in 2019 we tendered our housing management services. The contract was won by the Christian Action Housing Association (CAHA) who offered experienced support and the possibility of a new phase of development. The new contract started in January 2020, with services managed from a local office in Mill Hill.
Estate office: 583 Watford Way, Mill Hill, NW7 4RT Telephone: 01992 765 915
Registered office: Benedict House, 61 Island Centre Way, Enfield, EN3 6GS