It is unlikely that our founders, who were small bands of local volunteers, could have imagined that 50 years on Hightown would become a leading regional provider of affordable housing and support, managing over 5,000 properties and 80 care & supported housing services.
In the 1960s, Ken Loach’s ‘Cathy Come Home’ held a critical mirror up to the worsening housing crisis. In response, volunteers and church groups came together to form housing associations. Our founders were among this national movement.
On 19th July 1967, Hightown Housing Society was registered. The society was the brainchild of local architect Peter Benton who came up with the name Hightown as a nod to its founding members, all business people from the High Street of the Hemel Hempstead Old Town. Their aim was to source land on which to build a development of affordable housing and they nurtured an ambition to open a supported living service.
This era saw similar activity across the Three Counties and in the years to follow Hightown would join its efforts with other grassroots housing and support providers, including Praetorian Housing Association (through merger in 1995) and St Albans & District Churches Housing Association (through merger in 2003).
Today Hightown’s work today covers a wide variety of sectors and we have undergone significant growth over the past 50 years. However, our dedication to our original social purpose remains steadfast.