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Welcome to the Association of Housing Advice Services

The Association of Housing Advice Services – AHAS – has been representing housing needs departments since 1990. Our members share best practice in providing housing advice, preventing homelessness and reducing temporary accommodation. We engage other professionals, landlords and the government on housing related issues, developments in legislation, single homelessness, and housing solutions.
 

We represent the Statutory Sector and fully contracted out housing services.  The organisation is run entirely  by operational managers who have first hand expertise and experience  of the challenges of delivering housing services . We hold regular meetings, conferences and seminars to discuss and examine issues which affect the sector and disseminate good practice and cost savings initiatives. We foster dialogue with private sector landlords.
 

Membership is free. Our primary catchment area is London and the south east but any local authority housing need department is welcome.
 

AHAS is a body representing housing advice providers. We do not provide advice or information directly to the public, although our members do.  
If you require housing advice please contact your local authority.

Presentations AHAS Teams General Meeting 24 July 2020  Uploaded

AHAS is starting a briefing on how Housing Needs Sections are dealing with the Virus. We will be producing a bulletin listed under Documents which will be updated as information comes in. This will cover measures you are putting in place to deal with applicants, cases in TA, street homeless, staffing issues - what your priorities and policies are during this period. 

We are also interested in hearing about trends such as increases or reductions in applications, presenting problems., etc

This is your opportunity to share information at an operational level. Please email the coordinator at info@ahas.org.uk. 

We presume that everything you tell us will be OK to put in the public domain; if it is not and you want to share it with colleagues, we are happy to send out a mailing exclusive to the sector.. Please keep the news coming so everyone can benefit even if you are doing the same as everyone else. Keep well and keep safe.

Presentations from AHAS General Meeting 6 March 20 uploaded - Click on Document format in Latest Documents column to download

Camden obtains first London Banning Order of a Landlord - see the order in Documents..

For more information contact Shaun Flook Head Housing Needs at Camden

You will find all the 2019 AHAS Conference Presentations posted on this website  in next column Latest Documents

Booking now open for AHAS 2019 Housing Advice Conference on Wednesday 6 November 2019 

See info under Events and Meetings

We are pleased to announce that the AHAS 2019 Conference will be on Wednesday 6 November at Southwark Council

More info later - and of course there will be another General meeting between now and then

Remain on our mailing list.  Let's stay together

To comply with GDPR AHAS is asking everyone who is on its mailing list to reregister - we do not really have to as all of you requested to be put on the list in the first place but we thought it best to do so.

You will have had an email from us but if you have not please email us (info@ahas.org.uk) with your name, job title and confirmation that you want to be on our mailing list.

Here is our privacy statement:

AHAS collects  the following data related to your employment only:  Name, job title, phone number and local authority or organisation you are employed by.

This information is provided by you or your employer or by government department.

 

We use this data to: 

 

- Inform you and advertise AHAS services or other services we may decide can be of assistance to you in your capacity in delivering housing needs service.

- Provide you with information relevant to your job

- Advertise meetings, conferences and seminars usually (but not exclusively) delivered by AHAS

- Seek iinformation for the purpose of research into housing needs and welfare provisions

 

All data held remains with AHAS  and is held on a secure passworded computer or tablet . 

 We may, only if requested by another local government (or fully funded housing needs service provider) employee, redirect emails to you or provide them with your email address for the purpose of seeking housing needs information. This information (your name and position) is already in the public domain and will only be provided for professional purposes and to further communications between local government officers.

You may elect at anytime to elect not to receive emails from us in which case your name will be deleted from our mailing list.

 

Do it now and opt in - Let's remain together.

 Thanks to funding from the London Regional Coordinators AHAS will be holding its annual conference for the sector again this year. "100 days of the HRA"

This will be on Tuesday 17 July at Camden Town Hall - Do not try to book yet we will notify you when booking is open - just keep the date in your diary. As usual 3 free places per London Authority

We wish every Housing Needs Division a successful implementation of the HRA without too much stress on 3 April 2018.

Keep up posted - we will be contacting you periodically to find out how it is going.

Presentations from AHAS General Meeting 14 March 18 Uploaded.

Read about what keeps a Housing Needs Manager awake at night - Phil Warren from Southend and AHAS exec's article recently published in Shelter's The Adviser but this is the full unedited version. In Latest Documents...

LGA consultation on procedure for referrals uploaded - closes on 13 March 2018 - published in documents.

Do not forget to respond to the CoG consultation by Monday 11 December 5pm

If you have not received AHAS response by email to assist you if you need help, contact us at info@ahas.org.uk and we will send it to you.

...

Draft Homelessness (Reviews & Procedures) Regulations 2017 published . 

Start recruiting Review Officers.

See under documents if you have not seen it

Consultations, consultations, consultations - just in case you did not have enough to do - important consultations published to be responded to by December

..

https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/housing-and-land/have-your-say-tackling-londons-housing-crisis

 

 

Homelessness code of guidance for local authorities

Closes 11 Dec

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/homelessness-code-of-guidance-for-local-authorities

 

 

Mandatory client money protection schemes for property agents

Closes 13 December

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/mandatory-client-money-protection-schemes-for-property-agents

 

 

Improving access to social housing for victims of domestic abuse

Closes 5 January

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-access-to-social-housing-for-victims-of-domestic-abuse

 

Funding for supported housing - two consultations

Closes 23 January

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/funding-for-supported-housing-two-consultations

Consultation on the COG published today and announcement on new burdens funding

Please read and ensure your council responds

Today the Minister for Local Government, Marcus Jones, announced that the Government is providing local authorities with an additional £11.7 million in new burdens funding for the Homelessness Reduction Act. This follows further discussions with local authorities on the new duties and takes the total amount from £61 million to £72.7 million.

 

The Minister also announced the distribution of the £72.7 million of funding for local authorities to meet the new duties contained within the Act and launched a consultation on the Homelessness Code of Guidance which will support your work to prepare for the implementation of the Act. The Minister’s statement and the allocations can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homelessness-reduction-act-new-burdens-funding and the consultation can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/homelessness-code-of-guidance-for-local-authorities

The Communities and Local Government Committee launches inquiry into whether councils have adequate powers to tackle 'rogue landlords'.

Inquiry: Private Rented Sector
Communities and Local Government Committee

This inquiry into the role of local authorities in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) will focus on the provision by councils of private rented accommodation and whether they have sufficient powers to deal with bad practices.

The inquiry will also examine barriers to intervention in the private rented sector, whether landlord licensing schemes are promoting higher quality accommodation and the effectiveness of complaint mechanism for tenants.

Background

The Private Rented Sector (PRS) has grown from 1 in 10 households in 2004 to 1 in 5 households in 2016 with the under-40s making up 70% of households.

The inquiry follows on from a Committee report published in 2013 which highlighted five key areas in which the Government should take action including: reviewing and simplifying the legislation covering the sector; giving local authorities the tools they need to enforce the law and raise standards; better regulation of letting agents; a cultural shift towards longer tenancies; and a renewed effort to boost housing supply.

Local authorities are set to be granted new powers to seek banning orders against rogue landlords/agents.

Submitting written evidence – terms of reference

The Committee is inviting written evidence in relation to the points below:

  • Do local authorities have the powers and capacity required to enforce standards in the private rented sector and deal with 'rogue landlords'?

  • What are the main obstacles to effective intervention in the private rented sector?

  • How effective are landlord licensing schemes in promoting higher quality accommodation?

  • What approaches have local authorities taken to promote affordable private rented sector accommodation in their areas?

  • How effective are complaint mechanisms for tenants in the private rented sector?

The closing date for submissions is Friday 24 November 2017 at midday.

Starting pistol has been fired - the HRA will go live on 1 April 2018 despite AHAS and local government asking for more time due to the demands of recent events.

Only 7.5 months to implement - recruit staff, train and retrain staff, set up new system, operational and IT, source accommodation etc.

AHAS wlll discuss this at our next meeting on Friday 19 September 2017 - Put the date in your diary and we will notify you later. Please do not book for it yet.

Housing Guide for people with sight loss

This guide,designed to assist younger adults with visual impairment find a new home. has been  launched by sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT). It provides information and advice for visually impaired people who are looking for a new home, seeking to live independently for the first time or experiencing problems in their current accommodation. It was co-produced with people with sight loss and shares personal experiences of visually impaired people who have different life circumstances, provides useful suggestions and signposts to over 100 sources for further advice.

 

The guide can be found on http://www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/guide-finding-home-visually-impaired-

AHAS produces Affordablity Calculator

To assist you with these calculations and as a companion to our popular report AHAS has produced (thank you Harrow)  an easy to use spreadsheet... You will find it in the latest documents

AHAS Popular Affordability report has now been updated.

If you downloaded a previous version, please replace it with this one - it is in documents.

Feel free to use it but we cannot be held responsible - please take your own legal advice

Jobs, jobs, jobs

If you are not on our mailing list, are you looking at our job page? if you have vacancies remember we will advertise your vacancies for free for local authority and fully devolved Housing Needs Department. An individual email to all out national mailing list  and on this site. Please send your notifications of vacancies to info@ahas.org.uk...

A bit more but still not nearly enough - and only for 2 years.

£61m is understood to be the London figure for the new burdens - about £2m per borough.

This of course will not provide one extra unit of housing - and rents are projected to rise and the sector to contract "Rics survey heaps further misery on Britain’s growing army of renters, who will likely have fewer properties to choose from............ The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has predicted that rents will increase by just over 25% in the coming years,"

Please Sir, can we have some more?

Local Government is given is desultory £48m for 2 years to implement the new burdens of the Homeless Reduction Bill.

If this is compared to Wales, looking at the number of homeless households, Wales got £2450 per household; England will get  £463 per household.

£48m is the figure proposed by Crisis to implement this legislation in England based on homelessness prevention outcomes in Wales where over 60% of households got rehoused in the social sector...........  yea we know.

Don't spend it all at once.

Our Job Page is live - lots of jobs - remember you can advertise free of charge if you are a local authority or fully devolved Housing Needs Service. Send you job vacancies to info@ahas.org.uk.....

Some of you tell me they are having problem opening some of the files - remember you click on the icon, not the file title. I have changed some of the powerpoints into pdf and that seems to make it easier to open. If you are still having trouble send me an email at info@ahas.org.uk and I will send you the file by email.

AHAS proposed amendments to the HRB sent to Committee and posted on website.

Thank you for attending the AHAS Homelessness Reduction Bill Conference 2016

We hope you found it useful and it was great to see every single London Council in attendance as well as some from the south east.

All conference presentations uploaded on this site.

Feel free to use any of these papers in particular the latest financial assessment paper which you must bring to the attention of your directors and Lead members..

The Bill has passed its second reading unanimously and save for a few clarification amendments at committee stage is likely to be on the stature book by April 2017.
If you are on our mailing list you will have had an mail outlining what next. If you are not drop us an email and we will forward it.
The major issue for local government will be about resources and implementation. The email sent to all of you outlined what  expenditure you will need calculate to meet these substantial extra burdens. Presumptions, of huge savings to be made once the bill is enacted in the cost of temporary accommodation have been quoted. These are based on the Welsh experience which saved money by the allocation of social and private lets to the homeless; we know this is not an option for London, the south east and high rent areas. In the argument for resources this will need to be debunked and that this bill will not save any money at all. For info on this look at table 6 in this report: http://gov.wales/docs/statistics/2016/160824-homelessness-2015-16-en.pdf. This clearly demonstrates that 77% of homelessness preventions achieved were by rehousing the majority of applicants in the social sector.
We still believe that this bill, though well meaning and useful in setting a benchmark for services to homeless applicants, will be hugely bureaucratic, will cost millions to implement, raise expectations and in the long run will not produce 1 single extra unit of housing.
If you did not make a submission ot the CLG committee on the Homelessness Reduction Bill because the timescale was too short - you can still do it until 15 September.​
We do not need to tell you the importance of doing so; watch the scrutiny proceeding from Monday 5 September on:
http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/5fa19e46-8ca4-468e-b3c2-9511b21e6de0   and make your submission on this link: http://goo.gl/nLnjm2   Feel free to use any of our submission
You should also address some of the issues raised at the hearing which we know are not correct: for example from the Welsh model's first year evaluation from Shelter:

3. Not many people are being enabled to remain in their own home

When someone is threatened with homelessness, the first priority is usually to help them remain in their own home – if, of course, this is what the household wants. It turns out that remaining at home is only happening in a minority of cases. Fewer than one in four (23 per cent) of successful outcomes were because the household was able to remain at home.

 

So any success Wales had was because they have ample supply.  Not to do with prevention; nothing wrong with prevention we support this but the whole premise of the bill is based on something that did not work in Wales, so what hope for London, the south east and hihg rent areas.

  • Website seems to be OK now - none of my doing - obviously to do with servers/browsers. However if you still can't se docs let me know and I will send them to you
  • Note v2 of ppt Presentation Financial impact of Homelessness legislation; please delete previous one as some figures incorrect. 
  • I have been informed that some of you are unable to view the documents I posted on the website yesterday from Friday 12th meeting.
  • I have checked this and some people are not having any problem whilst others are getting a much earlier page. This is a mystery to me which I am trying to solve - it could be problems with the Wix server or some browsers. I can view all the new documents on my PC, tablet but not on my iphone and the Editing of the website is certainly playing up today
  • In the meantime these are importants documents - the consultation from DCLG on TA costs, AHAS research on new duties etc. If you cannot see them them email me at info@ahas.org.uk and I will email them to you. If enough of you email me I will do a mailikng to everyone.
  • Sorry about that - and our web designer is on holiday!
  • Please download the DCLG presentation and respond to tamf@communities.gsi.gov.uk - this will impact on your future funding so make sure you raise this with your Directors and members and let DCLG have your views..
  • Have a look at the data on the AHAS research on the impact of new homelessness duties and do your own to find out how to you need to prepare to fund this. This is work in progress and we will be working on the operational costings - these figures only relate to the cost of TA. Happy to discuss just email info@ahas.org.uk
  • The AHAS exec is working this week on finalising its response to the proposed legislation. If you were at the meeting and 50 of you from 28 local authorities were - please let us have your views on our proposals this week please. As usual email to info@ahas.org.uk
Even though the Welsh Model was not in the Queens Speech it is alive and well and if not picked up as a Private Members Bill will be in next year's legislation. A number of you have already completed the questionniare about the extent of the new duties you will be facing. Some high volume inner city councils are likely to see a 800% increase in their workload and that is before even looking at the impact of finding accommodation for all these people; even out of London small councils will see a 400% increase.
If you are worried about this - and you should very seriously be,  as this will be the final heavy bale that will break most local authorities' back please complete the questionnaire by 16 June please. You will have received an email with the link to SurveyMonkey - if you do not have it please email info@ahas.org.uk.
You can ignore the questions about your analysis of your housing register as this has proven to be quite difficult for a number of authorities
The "Welsh model" was not included in the Queens Speech and a number of Housing Needs Managers have been coaxed back from the edge of the roofs of their town halls!
However this is not likely to go away so we still need to gather evidence so we are prepared with our data. The survey deadline has now been extended to 3 June 2016. Please make sure you complete it.

 

The London Regional Benefit Cap is expected to commence in London on November 7th 2016. This is still not 100% sure but most likely. Councils with PSLs out of borough need to watch when those regions will be rolled out
In anticipation of the Queens Speech AHAS is conducting a survey to evaluate the impact of the new duties due to be announced in a new Housing Bill. These duties mirroring the "Welsh Model" will have massive operational and financial impact in London and areas of high demand.
To assess this AHAS is conducting a survey on what it will mean for your council. If you have not received your survey and want to participate contact the coordinator on Info@ahas.org.uk and we will send you a link. The survey will only be open until Friday 20 May 2016. The AHAS exec will then produce a report.

 

AHAS Forum: Don't Give Up if you get error message 

A few people have reported that they are getting an error message that the content cannot be displayed when trying to log on to the AHAS Forum. Just keep on trying and you will get on. Not sure why that is happening - these Apps have a life of their own and if it carries I will get the App developers to ahve a look at it.

 

AHAS Forum goes live

If you work in a local authority or fully delegated housing need service (such as an ALMO) and you are on our mailing list you should have received an email telling you how to access the forum and your password. If you are not on our mailing list and qualify send me an email at info@ahas.org.uk and I will send you the info.

The aim of the Forum is for statutory workers to ask for information, share information and good practice, share standard letters, policies, ask advice of each other. You can also share  You can also share news, views and amusing thoughts as long as they are work related.

Website documents uploaded

Majority of AHAS documents and presentations have now been uploaded - you will find most of them under AHAS documents. Some of the older documents have not been uploaded as out of date. email me if there is something you want and cannot find.

Website Updates: Not long Now
Working on populating the website with latest documents and presentations. 

You will receive an email shortly telling you when it is all updated.

Please put: info@ahas.org.uk in your inbox as it may go into your junk box and you would not want to miss out!

Please reload

Next Step Accommodation Programme Funding Out of London and London

Covid 19 Implications on Private Sector Homelessness

Briefing and implication of bill proposed by Crisis July 2020

Covid 19 Operational updates 20 May 2020.

Andy Gale Covid-19 Toolkit for Housing Needs Departments

Dr John Keen presentation on the work of NowMedical - this presentation has had names removed for GDPR purposes and is to be read in conjunction with the statement published on this site.

NowMedical Statement (to go with presentation) on their work  and performance

RMG (for Westminster CC) Assessments of Single Homeless people

Andrew Carter Head Housing Options

Template for interviewing single vulnerable person Provided by RMG for Westminster CC

Camden's Medical Assessments - Allocation and Homelessness

Shaun Flook - Head Housing Need

Legal Update March 2020 - Forthcoming Private rented sector changes

Phil Warren - Basildon BC

Camden Banning Order Housing & Planning Act 2016

LC Cost of Homelessness Services in London Presentation AHAS Conference 2019

LGA Presentation on HRA AHAS Conference 2019

Oxford Presentation AHAS Conference 2019

Rough Sleepers Presentations AHAS Conference 2019

LB Haringey Presentation AHAS Conference 2019

LB Hammersmith & Fulham Presentation AHAS Conference 2019

PRS Back to the Future Presentation AHAS Conference 2019

Our search facilities are limited to a few items per month and we do not want to pay Wix anymore money.

If you are looking for an item which you know or thinks exists save yourself some time and contact the coordinator on info@ahas.org.uk.

She knows what is on there and has copies of everything.

Thank you

AHAS Affordability Report. Latest Version October 2019

You are advised to take your own legal advice on using this report.

AHAS is aiming to get a program developed to make this easier to use.

AHAS Legal Update  March 2019

by Phil Warren Southend Borough Council