Special event to celebrate 40th anniversary of Hjaltland Housing Association
Hjaltland Housing Association (HHA) will mark its 40th anniversary next month with a special event at Lerwick Town Hall.
Invited guests, many closely involved with the development of HHA over the years from humble beginnings in 1975 to an organisation which now manages 600 properties across Shetland, will raise a glass to celebrate its achievements on 4th June.
HHA chief executive Bryan Leask said: “Hjaltland Housing Association has transformed social housing in Shetland in the last 40 years and our event is a great opportunity to honour the individuals and partner organisations that have helped us get to where we are today.
“For much of the time sheer will power on the part of people passionate about meeting a clear social need has been the driving force of this association.
“But it won’t all be about our history – we are currently planning our biggest ever scheme, which will be built in phases at North Staney Hill, so we will be looking forward to the challenges ahead.”
He added: “The demand for housing remains as high as ever and we relish the prospect of the next 40 years of providing a high quality housing service to communities throughout the isles.”
Established to assist Shetland Islands Council in providing housing for oil workers, HHA merged with Scottish Airports Ltd in 1980 and by 1982 was managing 88 houses.
Prior to 1985, HHA was administered from Edinburgh, with part-time staff in Shetland managing lettings visits and maintenance.
The first full-time member of staff was Robin Sandison, who handed over the reins as head of the organisation to Mr Leask in 2012. The second member of staff to be appointed was June Redman.
The association’s first development was John Jamieson Closs in Lerwick, with Richard Gibson Architects as the architects and Leask & Brown and Morrison & Cooper as the original contractors. It won a commendation from The Civic Society and a Diploma from The Saltire Society.
HHA now has 28 staff and operates a Choice Based Lettings System for the vast majority of its properties distributed across 53 schemes from Unst to Sumburgh, Sandness to Whalsay. This provides applicants with a more flexible, customer-centred method of rehousing, allocating empty homes in a way that offers choice, meets people’s needs and promotes the development of sustainable, balanced communities.
Its wider work includes social programmes such as The Hub Project, which supports young adults coming out of care to gain the skills required to maintain a tenancy; the Independent Living Projects, which allows adults with ASN to have their own tenancies and support in the community; and the One Stop Shop, a service for private sector homeowners to receive assistance with disabled adaptations, repairs and maintenance.
HHA has also worked with the NINES project to connect 235 of its homes to the energy storage scheme.
The actual build cost of HHA’s current stock of properties was £67 million, and they are now valued at £105m.
Grant funding of £41m has been received from outwith Shetland by the association.