Meet the new Chair and Vice Chair of the NHF’s Smaller Housing Association Network

10 March 2023

The NHF’s Smaller Housing Association Network has appointed Jesse Fajemisin as its new Chair, and Helena Evans as its new Vice Chair.

Jesse replaces Raife West, Chief Executive at Havant Housing, who chaired the network for a number of brilliant years and stood down from the role in January.

Jesse Fajemisin is the Executive Director of Operations for Sapphire Independent Housing and has over 12 years of experience in the social housing sector. He is an active member within the g320 – a group of smaller housing associations across London.

Helena Evans is Chief Executive of Brighter Futures and has worked in the care and support sector since 1993. During her time in the sector, Helena has been responsible for the strategic leadership, operational and performance management of a range of care and support services across the north west and south west.

Jesse Fajemisin, Executive Director of Operations, Sapphire Independent Housing, says: 

"I'm really excited about becoming Chair of the NHF's Smaller Housing Associations Network and representing members' views on a national level. The NHF’s national networks have been vital for collaboration as we have navigated the challenges of the last few years. I enjoy innovation and collaboration and have gained so much from the NHF networks, and I am very enthusiastic about the timing of becoming Chair.

Most of my 12 years in the housing sector have been in leadership positions. I've worked with a small provider for five years, and led a range of services including general needs and supported housing, leasehold and asset management.

We know there are challenges, and the fact that smaller housing associations represent more than 60% of the NHF’s membership represents a real opportunity to bring such a wide range of best practice together in the coming years.

I will sit on the Regulator of Social Housing's Small Provider panel for which member engagement will be key as the sector adapts to increased consumer regulation and the new Tenant Satisfaction Measures. I wish to chair safe and open discussions about how we can improve services for residents, and the challenges the changes will bring smaller housing associations.

I'm also very keen to get a sense of regional nuances around the country. Please do get in touch with me if you are happy for me to attend a resident meeting for example."

Helena Evans, Chief Executive of Brighter Futures, says:

“I'm really excited about becoming the Vice Chair of the NHF's Smaller Housing Associations Network and supporting Jesse and the NHF to represent members' views on a range of issues. I am very passionate about the positive contribution that smaller housing associations make to communities and tenant’s lives each day, and I whole-heartedly back the work of the NHF who have supported and been the voice for housing associations over the years during some very challenging times.

I look forward to working with colleagues and members of the network to continue to promote and support the good work of the sector.”