About AHAS

History

AHAS was founded in the late 1980s by a group of managers in statutory housing advice services who saw the need to meet regularly to exchange ideas and promote the value of their service.

From starting out as small complementary services, housing advice and options services are now at the forefront of housing departments. We have taken the lead in housing departments and our service now incorporates all aspects of homelessness, allocations, temporary housing, often Environmental Health and are now central to the development of housing strategy to respond and meet housing need in an evolving housing agenda.

AHAS’ activities have supported and promoted the professionalism of the sector and encouraged the development of new ideas.

Aims of the Association

  • The promotion and understanding of local authority housing advice and housing needs services.
  • To promote good practice in housing needs services
  • To raise awareness of issues within private sector housing.

AHAS is a not for profit unincorporated association. AHAS does not levy any membership fees. AHAS’ income derives from its conferences, seminars and training and all income is channelled into its activities.

AHAS is managed by an elected executive who may co-opt others who manage and direct housing needs services. The executive is assisted by a coordinator

AHAS is open to all statutory and directly contracted services whose primary and main function is the provision of housing need advice to the public.

Although London based AHAS representatives come from all over England to attend meetings it is now attracting a wider out of London audience since moving its meetings online. AHAS believes that there are centres of excellence in very small authorities and that we can all learn from each other.

The organisation is directed at managers, senior policy advisers and directors.

The rules of the association are available for download in our Documents section.

Meetings and networking

AHAS delivers several meetings a year in addition to specialist seminars. Key speakers and practitioners will address a topical issue or service development. Recent seminars have featured a variety of speakers on rough sleepers, domestic abuse legislation and the issues affecting the private rented sector.

In addition, delegates will be informed of new development in housing law, hear about new trends and issues in the sector as they happen, and can discuss organizational issues and network with other managers.

All information and presentations are posted on the AHAS website.

Emails with important information, developments, legal updates when they occur are emailed on a periodic basis to the whole membership.

AHAS provides a forum and network for managers. Managers communicate with each other between meetings to seek advice and exchange ideas.

Executive Team

Neil Wightman
Neil is Director of Housing at Westminster City Council where, along with statutory homelessness services and rough sleeping, he manages the councils housing stock. Neil was formerly Director of Housing at Lambeth and also worked in Camden as Head of Housing Needs. He has Chaired AHAS for 12 years.
Candida Thompson
Candida Thompson is Assistant Director of Housing Supply & Options at Newham Council. Prior to this she was Assistant Director at Lambeth Council having moved from managing RMG the devolved Housing Needs Service for Westminster Council. Candida has over 20 years of experience in homelessness , working as both a front line officer and leading successful service transformation.
Shaun Flook
Shaun Flook has delivered frontline housing advice and managed staff firstly at Barnet Council and for the last 9 years as Head of Housing Needs at Camden Council, Since being elected on to the Executive of AHAS Shaun has delivered numerous workshops and conference speeches, with a passion for homelessness prevention at best value to local authorities usually at their core and spoken at CIH, LGA and other conferences.
Andrew Carter

Andrew is Head of Service at Residential Management Group Ltd (RMG) who are part of the Places for People Group. Over the last 20 years he has worked on the City of Westminster Housing Solutions Service (HSS) contract.

Specialising in Homelessness Prevention and Assessment Andrew has vast knowledge of homelessness legislation and has written and delivered training, seminars, and legal updates both internally and externally to other local authorities and key stake holder services. As Head of Service Andrew co-wrote the Places for People 2017 bid for the HSS contract and successfully won all 4 lots. Andrew joined AHAS in 2015 and has delivered numerous of updates and presentations at our Seminars and Conferences.

Phil Warren

Previously the Head of Housing Options for Southend, Phil Warren is now the Housing Solutions Manager at Basildon Borough Council, with a remit including families, singles, the temporary accommodation portfolio, and the South Essex Domestic Abuse Hub which delivers DA services over 5 boroughs.

Having worked in homelessness for over 15 years as a front-line officer and operational manager he is the Chair of the Essex Homelessness Group and a long-standing member of the AHAS Executive Board.

Phil is a regular speaker at conferences and events. He has delivered sessions on a wide variety of housing and homelessness subjects for AHAS, NHAS, the Centre for Homelessness Impact and others.

Sai Nair

Sai Nair leads the Housing Inclusion Service at the Royal Borough of Greenwich and has over 20 years’ experience in homelessness and housing needs services in Waltham Forest and Harrow Council.

She has a track record of leadership in organisational transformation; culture change; strategic, operational & project management; collaboration & integration; customer services and commissioning. Sai has been an executive member of AHAS for over 10 years

Jon Dalton

Jon Dalton has worked for a number of London Boroughs in Housing Advice, Homelessness and Housing Needs Services, as well as being independent trainer.

Jon is a founding member of AHAS and has been joint Chair and on its executive since its foundation. Having recently stopped working for Harrow Council as Head of Housing Needs, Jon is now a Housing Consultant and Trainer.

Michele Davies

Michele Davies is the AHAS Coordinator and the person you will deal with when you contact AHAS.

Michele retired from Camden Council after many years as Head of Housing Options and Support Services. After a few years doing consultancy and interim management in Housing Need Michele joined AHAS as its coordinator.

Michele is a founder member of AHAS and was its Chair for many years.

Conferences and training

AHAS has organised 10 national conferences on housing advice and options. The impact of Covid has stopped these happening but online seminars have been held for the membership.

Responses to consultation

AHAS responds to all relevant government consultations and engages with government department to discuss and improve housing need services and delivery.

Research

AHAS was very active with lobbying and researching on the impact to local authorities on the proposals in the Homelessness Reduction Act and gave evidence to the select committee.

Prior to this AHAS developed the first Housing Advice Performance Indicators (HAPIs) which led to the Homelessness Preventions BVPIs.

AHAS has developed and updated the Affordability Report which sets out cost of living for families to enable to calculate rent affordability. This is widely used by councils advising families seeking rehousing and has been complimented in caselaw,

What Landlord Want is a still a popular guide on how to engage and work with private sector landlords to ensure a good relationship and supply of private sector properties,

Joining

If you want to join and attend meetings send us an email to info@ahas.org.uk and if you qualify to join the organisation we will add you to our mailing list.