Our story began in 1997 when local council housing tenants in south Oxfordshire voted to transfer their homes to a new organisation. Over 5,000 homes were moved over to the new organisation then called South Oxfordshire Housing Association.
After the transfer, we spent time to improve the condition of the properties we’d taken over and, once they were up to standard, we started to build more. The first of these, at Sonning Common, came online in 2000, quickly followed by our first shared ownership homes, in Benson, in 2001. The name of the organisation was changed to Soha Housing in 2000.
In 2001/03 we were key to the regeneration of Berinsfield, when we demolished 59 unpopular flats and developed 71 new homes in their place.
In 2003, we started looking outside South Oxfordshire to build when we developed in Marcham part of the the Vale of White Horse District Council area.
We are proudly responsible for the first energy-efficient newbuilds in South Oxfordshire built in 2004 and, by 2005, we had housed 83 key workers.
2010 celebrated our 1000th home and also our first development with a mix of privately rented, owner occupied and social homes. Two years later in 2012 we opened our first Extra Care Scheme in Thame which also happened to be the first in South Oxfordshire.
We built our 2,000th home in 2015 and, as we continue to develop, now have over 6,700 homes – including social housing, shared ownership, independent living. In 2019, we were rated the third largest housing association for development as a proportion of stock because in the year 2018/19, we handed over 229 homes.
In 2019, we have homes in all adjacent Districts to South Oxfordshire, and as far East as High Wycombe and as far West as Royal Wootton Bassett. Our guiding principle is not to develop any further than an hour’s drive from our Didcot base. Our plan is build at a rate of 250 new homes each year.
Soha currently employs over 100 staff and has an apprenticeship scheme which started in 2012.
Soha is now a mutual organisation – one where residents are shareholding Members who can take real ownership of the organisation as we move though 2019 and beyond.