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£2.5m further funding for successful pilot project.
More homes in Govanhill will be improved after a further £2.5m in funding was granted to continue a successful pilot project.
Within its first year the South-West Govanhill Property Acquisition and Repair Programme has already exceeded its two year target of bringing 80 houses into the social rented sector - they have recently purchased their 100th house.This enables Govanhill Housing Association (GHHA) to take more control of the houses and make necessary improvements.
The project has been funded by both the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council with £4.3 million and £7.1 million respectively so far. The additional £2.5 million has been provided by the Scottish Government and will enable GHHA to purchase around 40 more properties.
The project has been working towards addressing ownership issues, particularly those in the private sector, poor landlord practice, a lack of factoring arrangements and high tenancy turnover. Once the houses have been purchased by the housing association, it is a lot easier to make the necessary repairs and improve the living conditions.
Visiting Govanhill where he was shown some of the flats that have already benefitted from improvements, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:
“I am pleased to allocate more funding to this successful pilot which has been focussed on tackling the poor condition of these properties in South West Govanhill and improving the living condition for tenants.
“In partnership with Glasgow City Council and Govanhill Housing Association the pilot has already seen the purchase of 100 properties. A substantial repairs programme to the flats is scheduled to start, and I am pleased to hear that work has already been completed to a number of these to bring them up to lettable standard.
“While much remains to be done, GHHA have done great work in the year and a half since this project started and I look forward to this continuing so that we can see real improvements in the area.
“We have already provided £4.3 million for the pilot initiative which allowed Govanhill Housing Association to acquire and repair property in four targeted blocks. This further £2.5m funding will enable the Housing Association to take on more factoring responsibilities and ensure a more effective maintenance regime.
“In time this investment will make a huge and significant improvement to the lives of the people living in these flats.
“But it’s important to recognise that improvements need to be made to the area in more than just housing. That is why Glasgow City Council have stepped up refuse collecting in the area. And there are a number of projects underway which encourage and enable residents to drive community-led actions for improvements and change, instilling a sense of pride and ownership within the community and making the most of the opportunities the investment in the area provides.
"We know there is still more to do which is why we will be working hard with the council and the housing association to develop a longer term strategy to tackle problems in the area.”
Councillor Soryia Siddique, Executive Member for Communities at Glasgow City Council, said:
"We are very pleased that the Scottish Government has agreed to provide further financial support to the Govanhill acquisition programme. The programme is a vital part in the effort to bring lasting, sustainable change to way property is managed in Govanhill.
“The council has already put more money in the pot than originally planned and with the extra funds from the government, the scheme is on track to exceed expectations by a considerable margin. We are very encouraged that the government is getting behind our long-term vision for Govanhill and helping us deliver the improvements the area has been calling for.
“As more property comes into social housing, we fully believe we can get on top of many of the problems that have affected the area in recent years. Alongside the acquisition programme, we have been using all the tools available to us and are now seeing a positive shift in housing standards in Govanhill.”
Annie Macfarlane, Vice Chairperson of Govanhill Housing Association, said:
“The original aim of the South-West Govanhill Property Acquisition and Repair Programme was to purchase around 80 properties over two years and we reached that target after just one year, then passed the milestone of 100 purchases in recent weeks, so it is encouraging that we are successfully taking housing into the social rented sector.
“We welcome the announcement of further funding from the Scottish Government, which will allow us to continue to make important progress in buying and repairing properties. The aim of the programme is to provide better living conditions in the area, while also helping to tackle overcrowding and deliver a more effective system of property management and maintenance.
“Although the programme has achieved a lot within a short time, addressing the issues that exist in South-West Govanhill requires a long-term approach, which we hope will continue to be supported by the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council.”
The pilot project runs from Dec 2014 – March 2017. The new £2.5m additional funding has been provided to purchase around 40 more houses in this financial year (2016/17)