Formerly registered with the Registrar of Friendly Societies in 1984 as Three Towns Housing Association, the organisation’s birth typically reflects the ethos of the community based housing association movement prevalent at the time in the West of Scotland.
Community based associations have traditionally been the offspring of involvement by dedicated community activists and forward looking District Councils, Cunninghame Housing Association (then The Three Towns Housing Association) is no exception.
By late 1983 the then Cunninghame District Council had recognised that given the limited resources made available to them to deal with unfit private housing and the extent of disrepair which existed within the area, they would not be able to tackle the problem of ongoing urban decay as quickly and effectively as they wished. Recognising the potential procedural and financial advantages of involving housing associations, particularly community based housing associations, the Council entered into discussions with the then Housing Corporation in Scotland (a Government quango) responsible for registering and funding housing associations in Scotland.
In parallel, residents in Ardrossan were becoming increasingly concerned about the failure to secure any real progress on regeneration initiatives in the old town centres, which included commercial premises as well as flats. Representatives of the Housing Corporation in Scotland met with interested residents over the summer months of 1984. In September of that year a ‘Steering Group’ was formed which founded and registered the ‘Three Towns Housing Association’. The Housing Corporation made available a set up grant of £33,000 and the assistance of Queens Cross Housing Association in Glasgow was enlisted to provide development services to the new embryonic housing association. By January 1985 the Association had concluded a development agreement with Cunninghame District Council to act on an agency basis, co-ordinating improvements and repairs within designated Housing Action Areas within the Three Towns of Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston.
The Steering Committee went public in May 1985 in a bid to create greater public awareness of their proposed projects and to promote greater involvement through widening of membership. The first AGM followed in July 1985. By October 1985, a site start was made on the 3 storey tenement at the corner of Quay Street, Saltcoats and with the completion of 8 flats in this scheme in July 1986 the Association’s credibility was established. A second project at Princes Street, Ardrossan followed shortly afterwards in November 1986. The journey had begun.