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13 Jun 2019

Compass a finalist in the Australasian Housing Institute Awards

Compass Housing Servcies has be named as a finalist in three categories the upcoming NSW and ACT Australasian Housing Institute Awards.

The not for profit community housing provider is in the running for the Excellence in Social Housing Award, the Leading Community Engagement Practice Award and the Leading Innovation Award.

Compass’ nomination in these awards is a result of its whole of community approach to its provision of social housing.

Under Compass’ Tenancy Specialist Model, tenant engagement and empowerment is embedded as a core element of tenancy management. Tenant satisfaction ratings are at a record high 94%, which is well above the industry average.

A practical example of Compass’ leadership ion community engagement is “Compass Community Gardens” (CCG) is a social inclusion program based on the Homegrown initiative developed by Vegepod and Dr Kate Neale from Southern Cross University. Utilising drought resistant Vegepod garden beds, the CCG program assists tenants and community members to create and maintain a community garden, develop life skills, reduce social isolation and boredom and increase community/social interaction.  The gardens installed to date have had positive results above and beyond the expected improvements in nutrition, and social interaction. Tenants in locations where community gardens have been installed also exhibit improvements in engagement on a range of other issues including sustainability, maintenance and access to ancillary support services.

Compass Housing does much more than put a roof over its tenants heads. By providing tenants with access to education, training and mentoring, Compass is helping to create pathways out of disadvantage

Other examples of its tenant and community programs include its Grow a Star mentoring and financial scholarships for young people in social housing, and its award winning community hubs.

Compass is also involved nationally and internationally in the improvement of the social and affordable housing sector. It created the “Towards a National Housing Strategy” framework which was expanded into the national “Everybody’s Home” campaign – a five point plan to fix Australia’s broken housing system. It is also involved in United Nation’s work programs to promote the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Compass is recognised for its innovative approach to service provision. It is for its inaugural Affordable Housing Income Gap Report that is a finalist in the Leading Innovation Award. The report takes a new approach to the measurement of housing affordability for renters. It establishes the amount of additional income a typical renting household needs to avoid housing stress on various types of dwellings in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

The awards will be announced in Sydney on July 4. The winners of the NSW Awards will join other state award winners at the national Australasian Housing Institute Awards in Darwin on August 27 to coincide with its national housing conference.

Compass Housing’s Group Managing Director Greg Budworth took out the national Outstanding Achievement Award for an individual at the 2017 awards.


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12 Jun 2019

Compass backs Vinnies CEO Sleepout again to help end homelessness

Three Compass Housing Services staff are joining CEO Greg Budworth in this year's Vinnies CEO Sleepout to play their part in helping to end the cycle of homelessness for local people.

The Sleepout will be held in Newcastle on June 20, one of the longest and coldest nights of the year, at McDonald Jones Stadium.

This will be Compass CEO Greg Budworth’s fifth sleepout. Joining them is Michelle Faithfull, Prof David Adamson and Vanessa Khouli.

He says he supports the CEO Sleepout because homelessness is such a significant and growing issue. More than 116,000 Australians experience homelessness on any given night.

“By doing the Sleepout I hope I provide some awareness to my staff and others in the community of the plight of people experiencing homelessness and the disadvantage they experience,” Mr Budworth says. 

“Even though we are only sleeping out for one night, it does give you some perspective,” he says.

Mr Budworth encouraged people to donate what they can to help Vinnies to provide support to homeless people. $55 will feed a family for a day. $505 will provide emergency accommodation for a family in crisis. $300 will help relocate a person sleeping rough to accommodation services.

The Compass team will join hundreds of other CEOs, business owners as well as community and government leaders to sleep outdoors at 11 locations around Australia to support Australians who are experiencing homelessness. Last year, the Vinnies CEO Sleepout raised $6.9 million nationally.

Donate to Greg and the Compass team here.

Supporting the CEO Sleepout is one of a number of things Mr Budworth and his team at Compass  are doing to eliminate homelessness in the region.

Aside from its day to day business of providing social and affordable housing to more than 12,000 people in NSW and Queensland, Compass is a member of, and provides secretariat support to the The Big Ideas Homelessness Network.

The Network is working with local organisations to sign the Newcastle and Hunter Pledge to end homelessness.

Compass also provides secretariat support to the Hunter Homeless Connect Day committee which runs a one day event in July to provide one stop shop services and support to local people who are experiencing homelessness, or are at risk of homelessness. 

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12 Jun 2019

Compass Housing supports Fifth Pacific Urban Forum

Compass Housing is supporting the Fifth Pacific Urban Forum (PUF5) to be held in Nadi, Fiji in July.

Compass’ Manager of International and Stakeholder Engagement, Ben Wong, is a member of the PUF5 organising committee. Knowledge Manager, Prof David Adamson OBE, will moderate a Forum special session on the challenges of providing adequate and affordable housing throughout the Pacific.

Following the adoption of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and a renewed recognition of the many opportunities and challenges for the Pacific, PUF5 will review progress towards the Pacific New Urban Agenda. The Forum is an important pre-cursor event to the Asia-Pacific Forum in Penang in October 2019 and the World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi in February 2020.

Participants of PUF5 will include regional organi­sations, national and local governments, non-gov­ernmental organisations, community-based organisations, traditional leaders, professionals, research institutions and academies, private sector, relevant development partners as well as media. Countries previously engaged in PUFs include: Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solo­mon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu. PUF5 aims to

  • raise awareness of the importance of national and regional policy frameworks
  • improve information exchange on sustainable urbanisation in the Pacific
  • obtain commitments from countries on the implementation, review and monitoring of the Pacific New Urban Agenda
  • develop new partnerships to support an enabling envi­ronment for urban development the Pacific.

The New Urban Agenda is the outcome document of the 2016 UN Habitat III global summit. It sets out a common vision and global standards for urban development and directly addresses specific issues pertaining to SIDS. At World Urban Forum 9 (WUF9) held in Malaysia in 2018, heads of Pacific island delegations and the members of the delegations, signed a statement reconfirming their commitment to the implementation of the Pacific New Urban Agenda and the New Urban Agenda in their respective countries and urged for remobilisation and reinvigoration of regional policy attention to urbanisation issues.

Compass has strong interest in supporting Australia’s Pacific neighbours to meet the housing needs of its citizens. It is in the process of Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) accreditation and has two completed storm shelter/community facilities in Vanuatu as part of broader planned humanitarian activities in the region.

Compass' support for PUF5 is also part of its advocacy for the implementation of the NUA and the UN’s sustainable development goals. Compass has gained special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council. It was one of a small number of organisations, outside of UN member nations, to make a statement on the NUA from the floor of the global UN Habitat lll conference held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. Group Managing Director, Greg Budworth is Vice President of the UN General Assembly of Partners where he is leading international efforts to implement the NUA. Compass Housing organised Australia’s first two conferences on implementing the NUA, held in Melbourne in 2017, and in Newcastle in 2018. Compass is also a Lead Partner with the World Urban Campaign.

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03 Jun 2019

New provider for 1000 local social housing tenants from today

Not for profit community housing provider Compass Housing Services (Compass) today takes over the management of more than 1,000 social housing properties in the Hunter promising improved services and support for tenants.

The change is part of the NSW Government’s Social Housing Management Transfer which sees 14,000 tenancies currently managed by the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) transferred to a number of community housing providers following a tender process. Compass will also facilitate temporary accommodation for local people experiencing homelessness and provide private rental assistance to those in housing stress.

Under the initiative Compass has obtained 1,825 properties to manage in NSW including 665 in Cessnock, 384 in Singleton, and 27 in Dungog. The remainder are on the mid North Coast. This takes Compass’ portfolio to more than 6,200 dwellings, making it one of the largest community housing providers in the southern hemisphere.

Compass’ Group Chief Operating Officer Lisa Tierney said as well as industry leading tenancy and property management, tenants in Taree will benefit from a range of Compass community development programs.

“At Compass we believe community housing is about more than just providing accommodation, it’s also about building community,” Ms Tierney said.

“That’s why we offer a range of programs that help tenants achieve better social and economic participation and foster a sense of belonging and connection to their homes and their communities,’ she said.

“The transition of tenants has gone very smoothly with 100 per cent of tenants agreeing to transfer.

“We’re excited to be able to extend our offering to our new tenants and look forward to having them as part of the Compass community.”

Currently around 19 per cent of NSW’s 144,000 social housing dwellings are managed by the not-for-profit sector. That figure will rise to 32 per cent under the Social Housing Management Transfer program.

Newcastle-based Compass has been operating for more than 30 years. It manages properties in Sydney, the Hunter, Central West, Far West, and Central Coast regions of NSW, as well as in Brisbane and New Zealand. It also runs community development programs in Australia, New Zealand and Vanuatu.     

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29 May 2019

Compass Housing welcomes new ministerial appointments in new look Federal Cabinet

Local community-based housing provider Compass Housing Services (Compass) has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of Michael Sukkar as Minister for Housing and Luke Howarth as Assistant Minister for Community Housing and Homelessness in his new look Cabinet.

Compass one of many housing experts as well as social services advocates and providers that have been long calling for a dedicated Minister for Housing as part of action needed to fix Australia’s broken housing system.

The Federal Government did not previously have a Minister for Housing.

Compass’ Acting CEO Lisa Tierney said housing is a basic human right and need and is fundamentally important to other parts of people’s lives including work, study, families and relationships.

Ms Tierney said given so many people are struggling with housing affordability or rental affordability and that homelessness is on the rise it is vital to have a national minister to focus and integrate action.

She hopes the ministers will work with other counterparts responsible for infrastucture, jobs and community services to develop national plans for housing and to end homelessness.

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