GreenSquare - a brief history

GreenSquare's origins date back to 10 August 1866 when the Oxford Cottage Improvement Company Ltd was founded. The company began its work by improving small groups of working class houses in the city, quickly establishing itself as a local pioneer in housing reform.

By 1965, with 94 homes in management, it changed its name to Oxford Citizens Housing Association (OCHA). In 1973, OCHA had more than 130 properties and merged with Oxfordshire Housing Society, effectively extending its work outside the City of Oxford to across the county.

In 2008, OCHA formed a partnership with Wiltshire-based housing association, Westlea. Together they became known as GreenSquare Group and managed more than 9,000 properties. Westlea had been founded in 1995 (originally as North Wiltshire Housing Association) and was an 'LSVT' or large scale voluntary transfer housing association, formed to take on the ownership and management of around 6000 homes from North Wiltshire District Council.

Further growth took place in 2012, when Gloucester-based housing association, Oxbode, joined GreenSquare Group, which boosted the company’s portfolio with 500 homes and enabled it to support residents in Gloucestershire. GreenSquare also took on contracts to run a housing support service Gloucestershire (GHS) – which it continued until 2020 – and Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service (GDASS) which remains part of the group.

In 2021, GreenSquare owned and managed around 12,000 properties across Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire – and the group completed its merger with similar-sized Accord Housing Association, based in the West Midlands, to form GreenSquareAccord. Today, providing high quality homes for those on low incomes and most at need remains as much at the heart of its purpose as it did in 1866.

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