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24 Nov 2020

Compass wins four 2020 Australian Business Awards

Compass Housing Services has taken out four ABA100 2020 Australian Business Awards. The awards were for:

  • Employer of Choice
  • Training Excellence
  • Community Contribution
  • Sustainability

The Sustainability Award was a first for Compass. It took out awards in the other categories in 2019.

These awards are on the back of Compass being a finalist in two categories in the 2020 Hunter Business Awards for sustainability and contribution to the region.

Group Managing Director Greg Budworth said the accolades are a credit to Compass staff.  

“We strive to be a workplace where people can develop their skills and be successful so that they can better provide our tenants with affordable housing and support services,” Mr Budworth said.

“We have invested in new training systems and have focussed on building future leadership capability,” he said.

Having all people living in appropriate and affordable shelter and engaged in sustainable communities is Compass Housing’s business vision.

Mr Budworth said Compass has a long-standing commitment to social, environmental and economic sustainability and strongly believes real success in any of these can only be achieved when all three are addressed.

“We have aligned our business plans to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and our goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030.”

“Our sustainability programs are managed by our Sustainability Manager and they involve management. staff, and tenants.”

Compass has Gold Status in the NSW Government's Sustainability Advantage program. It was also the first NGO in the Hunter region to sign up to the Plastics Police soft plastic recycling program which encourages recycling of plastic for reuse as plastic furniture.

The annual Australian Business Awards program recognises organisations that demonstrate the core values of business innovation, product innovation, technological achievement and employee engagement via a comprehensive range of award categories.

The Award for Community Contribution recognises organisations that implement initiatives that have a positive impact on the community and generate outcomes that have a long term benefit. Those organisations awarded Employer of Choice have developed leading workplaces that maximise the full potential of their workforce through practices that demonstrate effective employee recruitment, engagement and retention. The Award for Training Excellence recognises organisations that have achieved outstanding results through initiatives that demonstrate excellence in workplace training and development. The Sustainability Award recognises organisations that have achieved outstanding results through initiatives that demonstrate excellence in human resource management.

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17 Nov 2020

NSW Budget Wish List – Compass Housing

Hunter based community housing provider, Compass Housing Services (Compass), is calling for the NSW Government to make major investments in social and affordable housing as well as programs to support people experiencing homelessness in the upcoming (November 17) NSW Budget.

Group managing director, Greg Budworth, said building more social and affordable housing will help tackle the shortage of housing stock in the region, and elsewhere in NSW, as well as provide effective economic stimulus and job creation. 

Mr Budworth said Compass keenly awaited detail of how many packages the Hunter and Central Coast will receive under the Government’s extension of its new Together Home project for rough sleepers.

“The NSW Government has flagged the construction and maintenance of social and affordable housing will be a budget priority, which is very welcome news,” Mr Budworth said.

“The Government has already shown a commitment to improving the amount of, and quality of, social and affordable housing - with record spending through programs such as the Social and Affordable Housing Scheme (SAHF) – but more is needed,” he said.

There is a shortage of more than 400,000 affordable homes nationally for low income households. Social housing waiting lists remain high with people waiting an average of five to 10 years for a place in the Hunter and Central Coast regions.

Mr Budworth said direct investment by governments in the construction of new homes is far more effective for the economy and society than ad hoc grants and schemes. He said new social housing brings a new pipeline of work creating new jobs for tradies.

“Many community housing providers and developers have shovel ready projects, so the stimulus is almost immediate.”

“Funding new affordable housing does more to reduce housing stress for both renters and buyers across the housing market.

“Homelessness is a growing issue for our region and the rest of NSW, exacerbated by COVID-19 as well as other systemic issues such as rising domestic violence rates.”

“When people have a safe and stable roof over their head, they are better able to focus on addressing their health issues, looking after their families, staying productive at work or training or finding work.”

Compass is building 493 new homes at 19 sites across the Hunter and Central Coast as part of the $1.1B state-wide SAHF program. It received 30 packages for the Hunter region under the Together Home project’s first round of funding in June 2020. The Government has announced it will increase funding for that project statewide by $29 million in the Budget.    

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


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09 Sep 2020

Compass builds its first sensory garden in a specialist disability group home in the Hunter

Compass Housing Services has teamed up with the Royal Botanic Gardens and The Disability Trust to build and plant a sensory garden at one of its new Hunter specialist disability accommodation properties.

Sensory gardens allow people to connect with nature by touching, rubbing, smelling and eating the plants. They use plants, water, and other materials with a variety of aromas, textures, colours, noises and shapes to invokes the senses of smell, taste, sight and sound. They are increasingly being used in public spaces, schools, in public housing, and for people with special needs to develop a range of new skills. 

Residents of the new, five-bedroom, group home in Mount Hutton will soon be enjoying home grown lettuce, tomatoes, herbs and bush tucker as well as citrus fruits. Additional trees will also be planted on the property. The garden is being funded by Compass Housing as part of its sustainability program.

Compass'  sustainability manager, Jandy McCandless, said community gardens are an important part of Compass’ tenant engagement and empowerment programs. Ms McCandless said this garden is Compass’ first truly sensory garden and its first in one of its disability housing properties.

She said in other gardens installed in Compass properties, there have been positive results above and beyond the expected improvements in nutrition and social interaction.

“Community gardens can help tenants to develop life skills as well as reducing social isolation and boredom,”’ Ms McCandless said.

Compass Group managing Director, Greg Budworth said residents of the Mount Hutton property used to live at the Stockton centre. The new group home is one of 69 being built across the region by Home4Life, a joint venture between Compass and BlueCHP. The homes will eventually house approximately 300 people.

Mr Budworth said that the Government has selected six Supported Independent Living (SIL) organisations to provide, highly specialised, 24-hour support at the homes. The Disability Trust manages this home and its staff will help residents care for and enjoy the garden.

“This is a new way of delivering contemporary, high quality, specialist disability accommodation and this sensory garden is a small but important aspect of how we are working with the SILs to create homes for life,” Mr Budworth said.

Brenden Moore from the Royal Botanic Gardens has helped Compass to create other gardens for tenants in other parts of the Hunter and NSW. He joined tenants to build a garden at a Muswellbrook social housing complex earlier this month.

“The Royal Botanic Gardens donates Brenden’s time and bring the hardware for building gardens, the plants and trees, and the knowledge to help residents to enjoy and make the most of their garden.”

Compass is a Hunter-based, Tier 1, not for profit community housing provider and an NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation provider. It manages almost 7,000 properties in NSW and Queensland, including properties for people with disabilities.

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04 Sep 2020

Compass Housing Services supports Dungog Virtual Community Assistance Day

Compass Housing Services (Compass) is taking part in a Virtual Community Assistance Day being organised for Dungog residents by the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON) and Hunter Water.

Those two organisations  have teamed up for a to help residents and small businesses resolve outstanding issues, obtain advice and access support services - all with a single phone call.

Compass is one of 12 other organisations who will take part to provide that one stop shop of support.

With the additional financial challenges faced by many during COVID-19, the event will help connect people, including Compass tenants, with agencies to provide support with their energy and water bills, as well as a range of other services to assist with tenancy issues, outstanding fines, as well as banking, superannuation and legal problems.

Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW, Janine Young said this event is well-timed with customers being more likely to experience high energy bills as a result of COVID-19 and spending more time at home in winter.

"Vulnerable customers were struggling to pay their energy bills even before the pandemic. It is likely that the severity of the situation has increased, as more people are experiencing greater employment uncertainty and additional energy usage affecting their ability to pay their bills," Ms Young said.

Hunter Water's Executive Manager Customer Strategy and Retail, Victor Prasad, said the water utility’s Account Assistance Team will be available for confidential appointments to discuss customers' accounts and provide individual advice about our support options such as payment extensions and interest free payment relief.

The event will take place on Wednesday, 9 September 2020, between 9am and 3pm.

To book your free consultation call 02 4081 5701.

Agencies participating in this event:

  • Hunter Water
  • Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW
  • Energy retailers - EnergyAustralia, Origin Energy and Red Energy,
  • Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman
  • NSW Trustee and Guardian
  • Australian Unity
  • Legal Aid NSW
  • Compass Housing
  • Dungog Shire Community Centre
  • Dungog and District Neighbourcare Inc,
  • Financial Counselling Hunter Valley Project Inc
  • Hunter Tenancy Advice & Advocacy Service.

Compass encourages tenants with general tenancy, housing application, transfer as well as emergency tenancy and maintenance issues to call the Compass Contact Centre direct on 1300 333 733.


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01 Sep 2020

Upper Hunter Community Garden Day

Compass Housing Services (Compass) tenants and other members of the community will join an expert from the Royal Botanic Gardens to build and plant two large gardens at Compass' Glenbawn Street social housing complex in Muswellbrook from 2:30pm on Thursday September 3.

The garden is an initiative of Compass’ local Tenant Reference Group. Tenants have been consulted and requested the garden include avocado trees, citrus trees, flowers and salad crops. There will also be a bush tucker section.

A recently awarded $2,000 community grant from Muswellbrook Shire Council will help fund equipment for the tenants’ ongoing maintenance of the garden and grounds.

Compass Housing’s sustainability manager Jandy McCandless said community gardens were an important part of Compass’ tenant engagement and empowerment programs.  Ms McCandless said Brenden Moore from the Royal Botanic Gardens has helped Compass to create other gardens for tenants in other parts of the Hunter and NSW.

She said in other gardens installed in Compass properties, there have been positive results above and beyond the expected improvements in nutrition and social interaction.

“Creating community gardens help our tenants to develop life skills, reduce social isolation and boredom as well as increase social interaction,” Ms McCandless said.

At Compass, we see our role as being much more than putting a roof over our tenants’ heads,” she said.

“By providing tenants with life skills, as well as access to education, training and mentoring, we can help to create pathways out of disadvantage.”

Muswellbrook based community participation officer Kristy King said the gardens also bring Compass staff and tenants together. She said gardening can also support good mental health.

“Compass runs a NSW Government funded Shout Out Mental Health program and a team member will be coming along to the garden project with afternoon tea for participants,” Ms King said.

“Anyone from the local community is invited to join us to get their hands dirty, enjoy some sunshine, and the satisfaction of building this beneficial garden,” she said.

The Glenbawn Street complex has 15 tenants.

Compass is a Hunter-based, Tier 1, not for profit community housing provider. It manages almost 7,000 properties across NSW and Queensland.



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