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25 Feb 2020

Compass Housing lodges submission to DFAT International Development Review 2020

Leading Tier 1 Australian community housing provider, Compass Housing, has lodged a submission DFAT International Development Review 2020.

The submission’s author, and Compass Housing’s research and development manager, Professor David Adamson OBE, welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the review, which he said is timely.

“At the commencement of a new decade, the review provides an opportunity for Australian Government to recognise and adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances in which international development will be delivered,” Professor Adamson said.

Prof Adamson said  the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper sets out key parameters in which Australia will support international development in the Indo-Pacific region.  He said defining a new policy framework to guide Australia’s international development assistance will ensure that the 2017 objectives are fully realised, whilst also delivering effective support for some for the world’s most vulnerable regions, nations and communities.

“The renewal of international development policy provides an opportunity to recognise the changing patterns of global economic, political and cultural relations. Australia’s influence in the Indo Pacific region has been challenged by the rising influence of China,” he said.

“The IDP presents methods of improving ‘soft power’ and ensuring that the values of democratic nations remain strongly represented in the region.”

“Humanitarian interventions have an intrinsic value and Australia, as a wealthy nation, is able to provide shelter, support and development for some of the most disadvantaged populations that exist on our doorstep.”

Compass is a Community Housing Provider (CHP) in with the global mission of: “That all people have appropriate and affordable housing and are engaged in sustainable communities”. It has become an INGO delivering housing and international development support with its current primary focus on the Pacific region.

In the past 5 years Compass has  gained ECOSOC recognition, ACFID accreditation, and adopted a leadership role in the UN Habitat General Assembly of Partners, World Urban Campaign (lead membership) and joined the UN Global Compact. It has played active roles in the World Urban Forum 9, the Fifth Pacific Urban Forum and the Seventh Asia Pacific Urban Forum. As well as providing affordable housing in Australia and New Zealand, Compass has delivered small-scale humanitarian interventions in Vanuatu. Compass is  also a part of the RMIT University Partnership to deliver a UN Climate Resilience Adaptation Program funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in Honiara, Solomon Island. Other projects include providing technical assistance to Vietnam, in particular Ho Chi Minh city, to address increasing demand for new forms of housing to resolve its housing crisis.

Read the submission here


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29 Jan 2020

Michelle Faithfull named as Newcastle's 2020 Citizen of the Year

Compass Housing’s Events and Community Relations Manager, Michelle Faithfull, has been recognised for her personal passion for community fundraising.

At the City of Newcastle Citizenship Ceremony on Australia Day Michelle was named Newcastle's 2020 Citizen of the Year. She received the accolade in front of dignitaries, 240 new Australians and her proud mum and dad.

Over the past decade, she has raised more than $180,000 for charities close to her heart, including more than $90,000 for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, almost $65,000 for the Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation and $20,000 for the new Ronald McDonald House Family Room at John Hunter Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

Much of that money has been raised through an annual Divas on the Green golf day which is also about creating a space for women to network and have fun on the golf course. She also volunteers to organise fundraising treks.

Her Hunter community work started 16 years ago when she moved to the region and started to volunteer with charities such as Camp Quality, Canteen, The Starlight Foundation and Ronald McDonald House.

Michelle said that after the loss of her first child in 1987, she had an understanding of the importance of community.

"It's an absolute honour and a privilege to receive this award, particularly in a community that I really love," she told the Newcastle Herald.

"Volunteering in itself is something that really makes my heart sing."

"For me it's all about creating something positive from something negative," she said.

The City’s Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Michelle's commitment to improving the lives of others had earned her the top honour.

"Until today, Michelle was one of Newcastle's unsung heroes, so the City of Newcastle is thrilled to recognise her tireless efforts to assist those in our community who are doing it tough," Cr Nelmes said.

"Michelle embodies everything that is good about the human spirit.”

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24 Dec 2019

Survey Shows Tenants Satisfied with Compass Housing

The 2019 Compass Housing Tenant Satisfaction Survey again shows tenants in NSW and Queensland are very satisfied with services from their social and affordable community housing provider.  

Overall tenant satisfaction is at 92%, with satisfaction levels of 93% in NSW and 84% in Queensland.

Satisfaction with the condition of tenants’ homes is at 90%. The way Compass communicates and provides information to tenants scored 88%. 95% of respondents indicated that they contact Compass by direct methods such as telephone or in person. Satisfaction with the Compass complaint management was 2% higher than the 2018 survey.

Tenants rate personalised methods of communications and tenant newsletters as relatively more useful than the website. This may be a result of the low tenant internet access (54%).

Compass Group Chief Operating Officer Lisa Tierney said Compass’ level of tenant satisfaction is much higher than industry benchmarks.

Ms Tierney said the result was a credit to Compass staff. She said there was more work to be done to improve scores. Communication on repairs and maintenance was rated at 82%.

“Every staff member in every location contributes to tenants satisfaction,” Ms Tierney said.

She attributes the survey success to Compass’ approach of doing more than being a landlord and putting a roof over people’s heads.

“Compass Housing has a range of tenant engagement programs and links to other servies support to help tenants to be actively engaged in their communities,” she said.

“We want to empower our tenants to have their voices heard and to participate in the social and economic life of their communities.’

“Thank you to all our tenants who participated in the survey because it helps us to know how to further improve services.”

The survey was executed by MAP Marketing using posted surveys and an online survey option. There were a total of 1578 responses.



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16 Oct 2019

Compass Aligning Strategic Planning with Agenda 2030

Compass Housing Services (Compass) has been a leading advocate for the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region. As an organiser of two international conferences and as participants in key events such as WUF9 and PUF5 Compass has seen how both the NUA and the SDGs can influence a wide range of agencies in government, business and the not-for-profit sectors to work towards the achievement of more equitable and sustainable communities. This has resulted in a major internal drive to align Compass activities fully with the SDGs.

As a provider of social housing, Compass encounters the impact of poverty, inequality and environmental crisis on a daily basis. Many housing clients face the struggle of poverty and the challenges of a warming environment in which extreme weather events have become more common. Aligning Compass' planning and strategic development to mitigate these issues for our clients has become part of its core business activity through an ethical framework of People, Place and Performance established in 2014.

Compass' engagement with the SDGs has promoted a full review of that framework and an audit of Compass' contribution to SDG achievement. That process began with an internal review of the final year of the current 2017-2020 Strategic Plan. An internal workgroup benchmarked activities against the 17 Global Goals and identified where Compass contributed to their achievement. Following this exercise, Compass engaged external consultants to verify its internal work and for the first time, the 2019 Annual Report will include an assessment of the organistion's performance against the SDGs. Most importantly Compass is now commencing the process to develop a 2020-30 Strategic Plan which is fully aligned to the SDGs and will commit the organisation to contribute to their achievement. This will inform Compass' daily business practices and the way they engage with clients and stakeholders. Where Compass is unable to make a direct difference, they will be leading advocates for Agenda 2030 and promote its adoption by government, the business community and other not-for-profit organisations. This will also result in Compass' ethical framework also including Planet as a core reference point to judge actions against.

The review has focused on the role of responsible procurement practices, not only for the organisation but especially for government and the public sector. While the business community has engaged with ‘sustainable procurement’ through activities of the Global Compact there has been less commitment by the government. As an organisation with multiple government contracts, Compass is aware of how a powerful influence could be achieved through ‘social procurement’. A leading example of this is the passing of The Wellbeing of Future Generation Act 2016 by the Welsh Government in the UK. This commits all public bodies to consider their impact on long-term environmental and social justice objectives. The Act appointed a Future Generation Commissioner to oversee compliance, and procurement practice has been one area of focus to date.

The practice of social procurement by the government has an extended reach. Government at all levels engage in complex supply chains providing opportunities to influence both ‘no poverty’ objectives and decarbonisation objectives. Local government procurement reaches deep into local communities. Effective legislation can create a chain of practice that also informs and empowers independent organisations to promote similar social objectives in its suppliers. In this way, a social procurement framework can promote significant cultural change that reaches deep into business and community practice.

Article by Professor Dave Adamson, OBE

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10 Oct 2019


The NSW Government and 10 community housing providers today celebrated the successful management transition of some 14,000 tenancies over the past 12 months, including the delivery of private rental assistance, to the community housing sector.

The Thank You event at NSW Parliament was to thank Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ, formerly FACS) and Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) staff for a seamless transition and successful partnership under the Social Housing Management Transfer (SHMT) program.

It was co-hosted by the NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward MP and Bridge Housing, with representatives from all the providers, as well as DCJ and LAHC staff,
and the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA NSW) in attendance.

Nine providers won competitive tenders to manage housing portfolios across Sydney and NSW for the next 20 years. The program was completed when Hume Community Housing assumed tenancy management of the Maitland/Port Stephens area in early September.

Speaking at the event, Minister Ward said: “What we’re celebrating today is the successful implementation of the management transfers program which resulted in the transfer of approximately 14,000 properties to community housing management.” Having had a look at the experiences of other jurisdictions, not just in this country but around the world, who have done this, it is commendable the way in which staff have gone about this transfer
and the smooth transition that has occurred. You are to be commended for your passion, your dedication to helping vulnerable people and to making this transfer work.”

Bridge Housing CEO John Nicolades said: “This program represents the biggest single transition of social housingtenancies ever to the community sector anywhere in Australia. It has built the capacity of housing providers to operate at scale and enabled many more residents to experience the high customer service standards enjoyed by community housing tenants.”
“On behalf of all the providers who’ve participated in this ground-breaking program, I thank the Minister and NSW Government for investing in our well-established, well-regulated sector to house some of the most vulnerable people in the State.”

The community housing providers managing public housing under the SHMT program are:

Learn more about the program. https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/housing/living/management-transferprogram

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