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Our history

In 1988, when Shian Housing Association was founded, it was a time of heightened racial tensions. The scars were still raw from the riots, three years earlier, in Brixton and at Broadwater Farm Estate.

A voluntary organisation, Harambee II, which helped young offenders, had identified a need for permanent housing for those who wanted to move away from a life of crime. Shian was formed to meet that need and to cater for the general housing requirements of ethnic minority people in Hackney and neighbouring areas. This proved to be the start of an important journey.

Celebrating our 30th year in 2018, we were able to look back at our achievements. Over this period, we had:

  • grown from zero homes to owning nearly 500 flats and two hostels
  • provided supported housing for people who were rough sleepers and/or with mental health problems
  • owned and managed hostels for ex-offenders and other vulnerable young people
  • run innovative and well-regarded projects aimed at gang members
  • provided residents with access to training courses run by Shian and other providers
  • given dozens of local people volunteer work experience
  • given a large number of local schoolchildren work placements – offering a role model for successful black-led companies, and
  • worked successfully with partners and our residents to invest in our communities.

We remain, proudly, an independent, BME-led organisation, which is tuned in to the cultural sensitivities of the communities we serve. We now offer homes across a range of different tenures, including shared ownership. Most of our housing is based in Hackney, Haringey and Islington, although we hope to expand across neighbouring boroughs.

We have an ongoing investment programme and more than 30% of our expenditure each year is spent on maintaining our housing stock.