On 1 February a small rump of shareholders gathered to rubber-stamp their decision to support the merger of Genesis and Notting Hill housing associations (made at the meeting of 16 January).
46 votes were cast – 13 present and 33 proxy. One abstained and Genesis claimed that the rest voted in favour.
The sole Genesis Resident activist present (a proxy for a shareholder who could not attend) asked them to at least demand the Chair undertake to:
-halt the sale of all social rent homes.
-stop conversions of social rent homes.
-produce a report of the last five years of sales, conversions, transfers, etc.
-include a detailed report of these issues in end-of-year financial reports.
-end the plundering of the pensions and savings of secure tenants.
There was a resounding silence from the assembled shareholders.
Dipesh Shah, the chair, claimed that savage rent rises forced on secure tenants was ‘righting an historical wrong.’ He was also determined that ‘bedsits in Westminster’ should be sold.
Elizabeth Froude, the ‘deputy CEO designate’ for the new merged organisation, said that the merger would cost £1 million. She said that the £7 billion borrowing cap only pays for housing activities. ‘Normal operating income’ – including our rents – go to repay the debts.
Resident’s rent rises (and the rises in service charges and cyclical maintenance costs etc) will go to building out-of-reach homes which will not solve the housing crisis. This is the reality of the ‘amalgamation’ of Notting Hill Housing and Genesis Housing Association.
The right to housing is enshrined in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Shareholders might want to read it sometime when they have a moment.
Oh yes, we nearly forgot. Savills and Allsops property auctions in mid February have about 15 Genesis and NHH one and two-bedroom social rent homes for auction.