As the Salvation Army Housing Association celebrates over 50 years of service, we step back in time and discover the milestones that have helped pave the journey so far:
saha was originally set up by The Salvation Army to manage the administration involved in housing newly retired officers and to explore opportunities for acquiring further accommodation. The first official letter of the new Housing Association was dated 1st May 1959.
But by 1962, the founders were eager to show progress.
Minutes of the January Board Meeting noted that while the facilities of the Housing Association had been in existence for three years, they had “…not so far been utilised.” The cash balance for the Association stood at £2 15s 8p, and the Secretary was requested “… to
ascertain precisely what government grants are available, and the best method of approach.”
In 1966, with both property prices and mortgage rates rising, saha encouraged Salvation Army officers to loan capital to the Association as an investment in their own future security. Other ‘friends and soldiery’ were also to be approached. In the same year, the BBC broadcast
‘Cathy Come Home’, highlighting the plight of homeless people in Britain, and (coincidentally) the homeless charity Shelter was launched.
The Housing Corporation, the government regulator of housing associations, came into being as a result of the 1974 Housing Act. In 1976, saha registered with the Housing Corporation, passed the administration of retired officers’ homes back to The Salvation Army, and set out to secure funding for hostel accommodation. Money that had been loaned by officers was returned to them, with thanks.
Following the 1988 Housing Act, significant volumes of housing stock owned by local authorities were passed to housing associations under Large Scale Voluntary Transfers, and 5 million council house tenants were given the ‘Right to Buy’ their home from the local authority.
In 1989, Edward Alsop spearheaded the saha Sleep Under the Stars appeal, inviting young adults to spend a night in the open, raising money through sponsorship while raising awareness through action. The campaign was supported by people across the country, including Salvation Army Corps and youth groups from a variety of churches.
With the strength and support of The Salvation Army behind us, we began to broaden our network of partners to great effect. In 1991, with the help of Maldon District Council, we pioneered the application of green design principles in our housing for homeless families at
Fitch’s Mews, Maldon, Essex. We also used the partnership approach to encourage tenant participation, piloting a ‘friends group’ in one of our sheltered housing schemes and publishing the first issue of saha Tenants’ News in 1992
In December 1996, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attended the opening of Edward Alsop Court in Westminster, London, a scheme for needy, single homeless men, named after the visionary Edward Alsop following his untimely death in October 1995.
The Government published a Strategy on Rough Sleeping (Coming in From the Cold), which recognised that people become homeless as a result of a range of problems, including relationship breakdown, mental health problems and substance abuse.
2008 was a major step change for saha with the appointment of a new executive team and Colonel Fisher as our Chairman, with a focus on quality and partnerships involving both local authorities and our principal partner, The Salvation Army.
Chapter 1, a fellow housing association with Christian roots and ethos joins the saha family, initially as a subsidiary before fully merging into the organisation. This acquisition substantially increases the organisations number of directly managed supported housing services, broadens the client groups we can serve and grows our presence in the South West, South East, London and the North West.