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15 Jun 2020

Specialist disability accommodation changes lives but it needs to be in people’s NDIS Plan

Leading, Hunter based, provider of specialist disability housing, Compass Housing, says the region’s growing stock of specialist disability accommodation (SDA) will help to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families.  

Compass’ Executive Manager SDA, Helga Smit, said some people remain unaware of the availability and benefits of SDA. Ms Smit said SDA needs to be approved by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and be in a person’s NDIS plan for them to access the housing.

SDA is available for people with a permanent disability who have very high support needs. SDA funding is paid to the person with a disability in their NDIS plan which they use to lease SDA housing or a room in a group home from a registered SDA provider.

Ms Smit said it is important for people to start planning for SDA early.

“It can take a long time to get SDA into a plan,” Ms Smit said.

“You don’t need to have identified a particular house to test for SDA eligibility and you can get SDA in a plan to use in the future. This is important if the health of the person with the disability or their parents starts to deteriorate,” she said.

Ms Smit sees, first-hand, people with disabilities thriving in this accommodation.

One resident of a property Compass manages is Chris. In state care since he was four, Chris, now 59, lives in a new, specially designed five bedroom home, with 24 hour support. Since moving in, Chris has built a chicken pen in the backyard. He tends the chickens, collects eggs and helps maintain the vegetable gardens with fellow residents.

“SDA is providing Chris and other people with disabilities the chance to live more independently, in the community, rather than an institution.”

A new report by Social Ventures Australia and Summer Foundation, Specialist Disability Accommodation – Supply in Australia, shows a welcome growth in the supply of SDA housing in Australia but says there remains a significant shortfall. But Compass Housing has a limited number of vacancies in newly built SDA properties in the Hunter and other parts of NSW.

Ms Smit said SDA also offers a solution to the problem of thousands of young people inappropriately living in residential aged care facilities.

She said Compass has a long and successful history of managing homes for people with high and complex levels of support. It is one of the largest SDA providers in Australia, managing around 1070 SDA places.

Compass also provides fee for service disability tenancy and property management for organisations. In March it won a two-year contract to provide such services at Summer Housing’s new Circa Three apartments in Brisbane. Compass already manages other Summer Housing apartments including 10 located within the Belle development in Lake Macquarie.

Compass is registered under the National Community Housing Regulatory System as a Tier 1 Provider and is a nationally registered SDA Provider with the NDIS.

It has produced a free five step guide to getting SDA into an NDIS Plan at https://www.compasshousing.org/getting-sda-your-plan

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05 Jun 2020

Homebuilder Scheme not as effective as social housing builds to boost jobs

The Federal Government’s new Homebuilder Scheme is a missed opportunity to tackle Australia’s housing crisis and create more real jobs for tradies according to leading community housing provider Compass Housing.

Acting CEO, Lyndall Robertshaw, said the scheme risked pushing up house prices and is inefficient because many of the $25,000 grants will end up being accessed by people who were planning to buy a new home anyway.

Ms Robertshaw said building new social housing would be more beneficial to construction jobs because it creates a pipeline of work that wasn’t there before. She said that this new pipeline of work can backfill the drop in demand for private dwellings and has the added benefit of providing much needed housing for vulnerable people.

Modelling by the Community Housing Industry Association and National Shelter, as part of the Social Housing Acceleration and Renovation Proposal, shows that investing in 30,000 new social housing homes over four years will create between 15,500 and 18,000 full time equivalent jobs per year. Not for profit community housing organisations can leverage these assets, using low cost finance from the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, to build 5,000 more homes to further stretch government dollars.

“Such housing programs have proven effective with 20,000 homes built, supporting 14,000 jobs, after the 2008 GFC,” Ms Robertshaw said.

“The disturbingly high social housing waiting lists mean demand is there and community housing providers have developers with shovel ready projects, so the stimulus is almost immediate.”

Ms Robertshaw said the housing need is dire.

  • There is a shortage of more than 400,000 affordable homes nationally for low income households.
  • Compass’ latest Affordable Housing Income Gap report shows that many renters were facing rental housing stress pre Covid-19.
  • There are 150,000 Australian households on social housing waiting lists. A 2019 Compass Housing report showed these figures would be higher if everyone eligible applied for social housing.

“People in housing stress cut back on other spending – suppressing consumption which is also bad for the economy.”

“Funding new affordable housing will do more to reduce housing stress for both renters and buyers than these grants.”

The Government’s establishment of housing as a subcommittee of the National Cabinet is a welcome move. The first task of the subcommittee should be a national housing plan with initiatives that, together, will have the biggest benefit for the most people.

Compass Housing is a, not for profit, Tier 1, community housing provider managing more than 7000 properties in NSW and Queensland. 

Media information: Craig Eardley on 0437477493

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02 Jun 2020

Compass Branch Offices Back in Business

With state and federal governments now easing COVID-19 restrictions, Compass Housing Services is transitioning back to normal operating procedures.

All Compass offices with the exception of Cessnock will reopen to the public as of June 1. The Cessnock office will reopen on June 9. The Compass community hubs in the Central Coast and Broken Hill will remain closed for the time being.

As we re-open our offices, strict social distancing and other precautionary measures will remain in place to ensure community safety. Face to face meetings with Compass staff will be available by appointment only, and all visitors will be required to undergo screening measures prior to entering the premises.

Screening measures may include:

  • Visual assessment for symptoms of illness. Visitors with obvious symptoms of illness will not be permitted to enter the office.
  • A temperature check using a non-contact thermometer. Anyone recording a temperature of 37.6 degrees Celsius or above will not be permitted to enter the office.

Clients who are unable to enter the office for any reason will still be able to access our services by contacting the Compass call centre on 1300 333 733, or via our website at www.compasshousing.org/contact 

Urgent and emergency maintenance work will continue to be delivered under the same social distancing and precautionary arrangements as have been in place since the beginning of the outbreak.

The safety of our communities remains our top priority. We will continue to monitor the situation in the weeks ahead and will provide further updates to our operating procedures as and when things change.

If you have any questions about any of this information, please get in touch by calling 1300 333 733.


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02 Jun 2020

Compass Housing Welcomes National Cabinet Focus on Housing

One of Australia’s leading community housing providers says having housing as a National Cabinet subcommittee is a welcome first step to solving Australia’s housing crisis and stimulating the economy post Covid-19.

Group Managing Director of Compass Housing, Greg Budworth, said housing has been largely left to state and territories to administer and reform in different ways.

“National reform is urgently needed to resolve Australia’s undeniable housing crisis,” Mr Budworth said.

“Having state and federal ministers for housing sitting down to draft reform measures for the National Cabinet is a great framework from which to start,” he said.

Mr Budworth said leading housing experts, economists, academics, and welfare groups agree that a national plan is needed. 

“The first step of the subcommittee needs to be a national housing plan, linked to other infrastructure and economic plans, with agreed targets and key performance indicators.”

“Previously we have seen ad hoc reforms that haven’t delivered effective and lasting change for all housing users.”

Mr Budworth said the National Cabinet’s operation during the pandemic had shown what can be achieved if state and federal governments work together using independent, expert evidence.

Compass Housing in a not for profit, Tier 1, community housing provider managing more than 7000 properties in NSW, Queensland and in New Zealand.

Media information:

Craig Eardley on 0437477493

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21 May 2020

New, expanded report shows rental stress pre-COVID – need for housing reform

A new report, released today by Compass Housing Services, shows housing stress was a major problem for many typical Australian renters, long before COVID-19 lockdowns began to hit household budgets.

The Affordable Housing Income Gap Report found that, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, typical renting households in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and some other regional centres earned thousands of dollars a year less than the amount required to avoid housing stress on an average home.  

The Report measures housing affordability for renters by establishing the amount of additional income a typical renting household needs to avoid housing stress on various types of dwellings in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.

Report author, Martin Kennedy, said the report shows that housing stress isn’t just something experienced by people on low incomes.

“Even before the current crisis working families with average incomes often struggled to rent suitable properties close to jobs,” he said.

“Throw in the possibility of reduced hours or a job loss due to COVID-19 and things can become very tough indeed.  

“Although rents are expected to fall in the short term due to more stock coming on to the market, they may not fall far enough to become affordable for typical renting households.

“In some areas, rents would need to drop by up to 50% to become genuinely affordable, and that’s only if people manage to sustain their current levels of income.

“More to the point, it shouldn’t take a global pandemic, closed borders and widespread lockdowns to bring median rents more in line with median incomes.”

Mr Kennedy said the existence of the affordable housing income gap is part of a broader housing crisis.

“The problems facing renters are largely due to purchase prices being too high and social housing supply being too low.”

“Unfortunately, people who can’t afford to buy, and don’t qualify for social housing, have no option but to cut back elsewhere and try to manage as best they can.”

The Report’s recommendations include:

  • the construction of 500,000 social and affordable housing dwellings in the next 10 years
  • stricter controls on residential mortgage lending to keep borrowings to realistic multiples of household income
  • repealing stamp duty in favour of a broad-based land tax
  • relaxing urban growth boundaries which artificially ration the supply of land
  • scrapping first home buyer grants and stamp duty exemptions
  • giving renters more protection under state and territory tenancy laws
  • alternative allocation models for social housing.

Compass Housing is a not-for-profit, community housing provider with almost 7000 properties in NSW, Queensland and New Zealand. The report is available from www.compasshousing.org



Report Key findings

Hobart had some of the least affordable rental housing in Australia. There were no local government areas (LGAs) in the Greater Hobart area that were affordable for typical renting households seeking detached housing. Detached homes in the regional centres of Launceston, Burnie and Devonport are also unaffordable for typical renting households.

Median rents in some areas of Brisbane had fallen sharply, including desirable inner suburbs such as St Lucia, Highgate Hill and Yeronga. Rents rose strongly in other areas with approximately a third of postcodes experiencing rental increases above inflation.

There were no inner or middle Melbourne suburbs where the median rent on a detached three or four bedroom house was affordable for a typical renting household.

While the overall median rent in Adelaide’s LGAs is affordable for typical renting households in approximately 85% of cases, the median rent for detached three-bedroom homes is unaffordable in 70% of cases. All LGAs are affordable for typical renting households seeking a two-bedroom unit.

There was nowhere in Sydney’s inner or middle suburbs where the median rent of a 4-bedroom home was affordable for a typical renting household, and just three LGAs (Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland and Ryde) where median rents for a 3-bedroom home were affordable.


Least affordable LGAs/suburbs/postcodes

Most affordable LGAs/suburbs/postcodes

Greater Sydney

Woollahra, Waverley, Northern Beaches (Manly, Pittwater, Warringah), Mosman, Sydney

Campbelltown, Penrith, Fairfield, Blacktown, Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains


Brighton East, Brighton, Mt Eliza-Mornington-Mt Martha, Port Melbourne, Fitzroy, Carlton North

Melton, St Albans-Deer Park, Sunshine, Dandenong, Noble Park

Greater Adelaide

Walkerville, Adelaide Hills, Burnside

Playford, Gawler, Salisbury, Onkaparinga, West Torrens


City of Glenorchy, Municipality of Sorell

Municipality of Brighton,

City of Clarence, City of Hobart

Municipality of Kingborough, District of Clarence

Greater Brisbane

4516 Elimbah, 4520 Camp Mountain/ Cedar Ck/ Mt Glorious/ Mt Nebo/ Mt Samson/ Samford/ Yugar, 4069 Brookfield/Chapel Hill/Kenmore, 4037 Eatons Hill 4035 Albany Ck/ Bridgeman Downs/ Cash’s Crossing.

4184 Coochiemudlo Is/ Karragarra Is/ Lamb Is/ Macleay Is/ Peel Is/ Russell Is, 4106 Brisbane Market/Rocklea, 4111 Griffith Uni/Nathan, 4304 Booval/ Blackstone/ Bundamba/ Ebbw Vale/ Silkstone, 4102 Buranda/Dutton Park/Woolloongabba, 4303 Dinmore/ Riverview.


The Affordable Housing Income Gap for 3br homes and 2 br units by sections of capital cities


Annual income to affordably rent a 3br house

Amount above annual median income (AHIG)

Annual income to affordably rent a 2br unit

Annual amount above median income (AHIG)

Inner Sydney





Inner Melbourne





Inner Brisbane





Greater Hobart





Adelaide LGA







Media information: Martin Kennedy, Compass Housing on 0418 353 913.



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