John Kernahan

Scottish Housing News is saddened to report the sudden death of former Perthshire Housing Association chief executive John Kernahan, who died last Thursday aged 70.

John spent his entire professional life in the housing sector and was deeply committed to improving the housing stock and combatting homelessness. He began his career aged just 15 as a rent collector for the local council in his native Ardrossan. He had a brief spell working in Livingston before taking up a position at Edinburgh District Council and then moving to Dundee District Council where he was a principal housing officer for 15 years, helping to establish Gowrie Housing Association which he went on to chair.

In 1988, he helped set up the Fairfield Trust in Perth which ultimately successfully transformed the blighted Hunter’s Crescent scheme and two years later was tasked with building the newly formed Perthshire Housing Association, becoming its first chief executive.

He spent the next 21 years developing Perthshire HA and supervising the investment of over £100 million in affordable housing in Perthshire before retiring in 2011 and increasing his involvement with the Homeless International charity.

Expressing his shock and sadness at John’s sudden demise, former Dundee City Council housing convener and SFHA head of publicity and marketing Jimmy Black said: “John Kernehan was a big presence in the housing world when I worked at the SFHA. He was a leader and a pioneer who drove change and raised standards in the sector. He was always a very compassionate campaigner for housing justice.”