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04 Jul 2018

Partnership brings affordable housing to Wickham

Newcastle City Council and Compass Housing will each contribute $3million towards an affordable housing development in the inner-city.

Eight of the 17 one and two-bedroom units on Station Street, Wickham will be reserved for key workers, with the remaining nine for social housing tenants.

The $7 million project will provide homes for workers such as teachers and emergency services personnel and will typically see rents capped at 30 per cent of household incomes.


"Council’s contribution comes from Building Better Cities funds and will be provided once 80 per cent of the project is completed," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

"The joint venture will provide homes close to transport and jobs to ensure a healthy diversity of inner-city residents as part of Council's well-rounded city centre revitalisation efforts,” Cr Nelmes said.

"Without affordable housing in growth corridors, many people will struggle to find suitable accommodation and be forced out of these areas.

"I call on the housing development sector, relevant government agencies, NGOs and the community to follow Council’s lead and help create a community that looks out for each other."


Compass’ Group Managing Director Greg Budworth welcomed Council’s support for affordable housing given the chronic shortage in Newcastle and the Hunter.

"Compass Housing is using funds leveraged from its existing housing assets, some obtained from other State and Federal Government housing initiatives such as the Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan to support this project," Mr Budworth said.

“Thousands of local people are under housing stress; including working people who struggling to put a roof over their heads,” he said. 

“Having appropriate and affordable housing is fundamental to success in every part of life so we’re proud to be part of this project.”


Over the past decade Compass has delivered more than 400 new social and affordable housing dwellings.


This is the latest affordable housing project to be delivered using the $12.5 million Council secured via the 1996 Building Better Cities program. Council previously funded a development in Mayfield, affordable housing in Newcastle and a retirement village in Hamilton with BBC money. Compass was selected to build and manage the units after Council undertook a tender last year to partner with a community housing provider on the project. The tender was open to all Tier One Community Housing Providers registered under the National Regulatory System for Community Housing.


Compass Housing is a Hunter-based, not for profit, community housing provider that manages more than 4,500 properties in NSW, Brisbane and New Zealand. It also undertakes community development projects in Australia and in Vanuatu.

For interviews call Council Communications on 4974 2264 or Craig Eardley (Compass) on 0437477493.


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19 Jun 2018

Compass gets behind Vinnies CEO Sleepout to help end homelessness

Compass Housing has a team of five participating in this year's Vinnies CEO Sleepout, to play its part in helping to end the cycle of homelessness for local people.

The Sleepout will be held in Newcastle on June 21, one of the longest and coldest nights of the year, at McDonald Jones Stadium.

This will be Compass Housing CEO Greg Budworth’s fourth sleepout.  Mr Budworth says this year he had five staff members volunteer to sleep out with him.

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.

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

“Even though we are only sleeping out for one night, it does give you some perspective of how unpleasant it is to be homeless,” he says.

More than 50 people are registered for this year’s Newcastle Sleepout and they have so far raised more than $50,000.

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. $105 will provide emergency accommodation for a family in crisis. $505 will help pay rent for a family facing eviction.

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 $5.6 million nationally.

Compass’ CEO Sleepout team is Kirsten Adam, Debbie Bradfield, Greg Budworth, Michelle Faithfull and Mel Hope.

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 Housing are doing to eliminate homelessness in the region.

Aside from its day to day business of providing social and affordable housing to around 10,000 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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28 May 2018

Opinion - Tax Cuts Insignificant in the Face Of Australian Housing Crisis

Compass Housing’s Group Managing Director Greg Budworth has had an opinion piece published in the Fifth Estate.

Despite growing consensus Australia’s housing system is broken, it failed to rate a mention in this year’s federal budget. It’s a remarkable oversight given the threat the housing crisis poses to the economy.

Australia faces a shortfall of half a million social and affordable dwellings. Around 35 per cent of Australian renters are in rental stress. Aussie households have almost two dollars of debt for every dollar of disposable income. Home ownership levels among younger people have collapsed, and Australian real estate is the second most expensive in the world. Yet in terms of policies that would boost the supply of social and affordable housing, provide relief for private renters or improve home ownership rates, the budget contained nothing.

Instead, the big-ticket item was relatively modest cuts to personal income tax for low-to-moderate income earners, and the promise of bigger cuts in seven years’ time. While some tax relief is welcome, it pales into insignificance in the face of Australia’s housing crisis. For a median income family, the proposed tax cut of $515 a year would barely cover one week’s rent. It is equivalent to 0.04 per cent of the deposit required to purchase a median-priced home in Sydney. Better than nothing, certainly, but only just.  

The omission of housing from the budget is particularly remarkable given the threat out of control housing costs poses to the economy. Households in rental stress inevitably cut back on consumption as do those with heavy debt loads who face the added threat of possible interest rate hikes. Both groups are highly sensitive to cost of living pressures. Any substantial decline in consumption risks sending the economy into a downward spiral as businesses cut costs by shedding staff, thereby reducing economic activity even further. Reduced economic activity has a flow-on impact on tax revenue, increasing the likelihood of additional borrowing to sustain services.  


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Joe Williams Motivational Speaker
15 May 2018

Fighting the Enemy Within

Former NRL player and boxer turned mental health motivational speaker Joe Williams will be in the region this month to inspire local social and affordable housing tenants.

Mr Williams will be addressing Compass Housing tenants who participate in the community housing providers annual, local tenant forums.

His talk is also part of Compass Housing’s Shout Out program. Shout Out is the first mental health and suicide prevention awareness program specifically tailored to help social and affordable housing tenants. The NSW Government funded program includes a general awareness campaign for tenants as well as training for frontline staff and tenants to recognise and respond to suicidality and mental health issues.

Mr Williams is a Wiradjuri man. He was born in Cowra and raised in Wagga Wagga. He [played rugby league for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Penrith Panthers and Canterbury Bulldogs before switching to professional boxing in 2009.

He said he was pleased to be involved in a program that helps people from lower socio economic backgrounds to be mentally healthy. He said after attempting suicide in 2012 he realised his purpose is to help others who struggle with mental illness as well as to prevent suicide and mental illness. 

“I will be sharing my experience with Compass’ tenants in a positive way to inspire them to overcome the challenges they face,” Mr Williams said.

Compass Housing knowledge manager Professor David Adamson OBE said having people like Joe share their stories was one important way to start the conversation about helping each other to have good mental health.  Professor Adamson said many community housing tenants have previously dealt with housing stress and other issues in their lives which negatively impact on their mental health.

“Shout Out is part of our broader community development programs that help tenants to improve their lives and to help them participate fully in the community,” Prof Adamson said.

“Shout Out is implementing suicide prevention strategies that have strong evidence, in line with the new LifeSpan Integrated Suicide Prevention recommendations,” he said.

The  2016 national suicide data shows eight lives are lost to suicide in Australia every day. About 100,000 Australians experience suicide ideation each year. Suicide remains the leading cause of death for all Australians aged between 15 and 44.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Joe and The Enemy Within

If this story causes issues for you call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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09 May 2018

No Budget measures to fix Australia’s broken housing system

Leading community housing provider, Compass Housing, is disappointed there is nothing for housing in the Federal Budget handed down tonight (May 8).

Compass Housing’s Prof David Adamson OBE said the housing needs of Australian’s have been ignored despite widespread agreement and evidence that Australia’s housing system is broken.

The recently announced Everybody’s Home campaign, prepared by leading academics and housing experts, shows there is a 500,000 shortfall in social and affordable homes.

“Housing is fundamental to the productivity and health of every single Australian,” Professor Adamson said.

“If the Government is concerned about rewarding and supporting low income earners there would be assistance measures to ease the rental stress faced by many,” he said.

“There’s nothing in the Budget to help first home buyers or to counter Australia’s high house prices either.”  

“The Treasurer spoke of the importance of investing in infrastructure; housing is fundamentally important, job creating infrastructure.”

“Australia needs a national housing plan and a federal Housing Minister.”


Media information: David Adamson is available for interview. Contact Craig Eardley on 0437477493.


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