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22 Apr 2021

Social and Affordable Housing Reaches New Heights in Wickham

Construction of a 16-unit social and affordable housing complex in Wickham is surging ahead with the “topping out” milestone celebrated today.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said the project would provide safe and secure housing for people on low incomes.

“These new homes will not only provide people with a roof over their head, but access to support to help them improve their health and general wellbeing,” Mr Ward said.

“Today’s milestone brings the completion of this important project one step closer, with the first tenants expected to get the keys to their new homes later this year.”

The 16-unit complex is a partnership between the NSW Government, City of Newcastle, and Compass Housing.

Compass Housing chief corporate services officer Lyndall Robertshaw said Compass is delivering nearly 500 properties, across 19 Hunter and Central Coast sites, as part of the NSW Government’s Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF).

“Rents have been rising sharply across the Hunter over the past 12 months and the need for properties that are affordable to key workers and people on low incomes is greater than ever,” she said. 

“Projects like this one show what’s possible when different levels of government work together and leverage the know-how of the community housing sector.”

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the initiative would help alleviate housing stress and provide more options for vulnerable people.

“This joint venture means more homes close to transport, jobs and other amenities and will ensure greater diversity of residents in our inner-city community,” Cr Nelmes said.

The SAHF is on track to deliver more than 3,400 homes across NSW, with 1,958 dwellings completed and more than 1,000 under construction. 


MEDIA INFORMATION: Craig Eardley on 0437477493. For Minister Ward contact Jordan Matthews 0409 317 892

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21 Apr 2021

Earn and Learn with a Cadetship

Compass social housing tenants, if you're over 25, and your Compass branch office is Newcastle or East Maitland, you can now apply for a place in the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) NSW and NSW Government Cadetship Program. This cadetship offers 12-months paid employment with a community housing provider and training in property management and asset development through a Certificate IV in Social Housing.

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You will need to include in your application:

  • Your Unique Student Identifier number. If you don't have one, or if you have forgotten it, go to usi.gov.au/students
  • A brief statement outlining why you would like to undertake the cadetship
  • A copy of your identification (ID) e.g. NSW Drivers Licence, Passport, Australian Birth Certificate

About the program:

Certificate IV in Social Housing (CHC42215) is a nationally accredited qualification will provide foundation skills and knowledge in:

  • understanding the community housing workplace,
  • working with tenants and understanding their needs, and
  • assessing and managing property maintenance and asset development.

Scheduled during work hours, training is delivered by industry and teaching experts with specialist knowledge and skills in the community housing sector. All trainers currently work in industry, hold a diploma or higher-level qualification in their relevant field, and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Both paid employment and training are for a 12-month period, with support provided in the workplace and throughout the course by dedicated Student Support Advisors, Mentors, Trainers and Work Placement Coordinators. Trainers will also work one-on-one with participants who require extra assistance to ensure the concepts and knowledge required are understood.

Download the Cadetship flyer
Cadetship Program - Cadet How to Apply Flyer March 2021.pdf


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22 Mar 2021

Severe Weather Warnings and Impact on Compass Operations

The current NSW severe weather event continues to threaten parts of Mid-coast, Hunter, Central Coast & Sydney. These conditions are likely to continue for the remainder of the week.  Compass manages approximately 4,400 properties in the effected regions. The most impacted areas include Wingham, Gloucester, Cessnock & Dungog. Wingham has been evacuated to the established crisis centre at the Wingham Golf Club.   

Staying Safe and Finding Help

The NSW SES website has up to date information on the current Bureau warnings and evacuation orders. More information at https://www.ses.nsw.gov.au/

The SES has also produced this useful flyer to explain when and how to get help.


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11 Mar 2021

Tenant Amnesty Offer

For the period 19 March 2021 to 30 May 2021, Compass Housing Services (Compass) is offering an amnesty on unauthorised occupants, undisclosed income or financial assets and undisclosed property ownership. This amnesty period coincides with the current rent review period. 

What does this mean?
Tenants who declare unauthorised occupants, undisclosed income or financial assets:

  • Will not have their rent backdated
  • Will not be evicted as a result of any information provided during the amnesty period

How does the amnesty work?
The amnesty will give tenants the opportunity to tell Compass about any undisclosed occupants, income or assets without risk of penalty or having to pay back money owed due to prior non-disclosure. 
During the amnesty information can also be received from members of the community, about tenants who may not be doing the right thing. In these cases, the Tenant will be notified in writing about the allegation and given the opportunity to discuss this with Compass and disclose any necessary information. If they do so, they will also be protected by the amnesty. 

What happens if I do not advise Compass about changes?
Tenants who do not advise Compass during the amnesty period may:

  • have their rent subsidy cancelled;
  • have a large debt to repay; and/or
  • face more serious actions such as termination of their tenancy

However, any of these actions can be stopped by simply contacting Compass during the amnesty period  on 1300 333 733 and asking to speak with a rent officer, or by email to reportit@compasshousing.org

Notification Requirements
Residents are required to tell Compass about any changes to their income, household members, financial assets or property ownership within 21 days of the change happening. 
This is very important because your social housing rent is calculated as a percentage of your total household income. If these changes are not declared, the tenant may be paying more, or less rent than they should.
This is not fair to other residents that are doing the right thing. It also means that there is less money available to reinvest in more social housing, property upgrades and other social housing activities.

To make a declaration
Contact Compass on 1300 333 733 and speak with a rent officer, or report by emailing reportit@compasshousing.org
Rental payments will be reassessed to take into account any changes to income, assets or household members
The tenant will be advised of their new rent amount and under the terms of the amnesty, will only commence payment of the new amount from the date of disclosure

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10 Mar 2021

Singleton Council supports local Compass Housing tenants with laptops and tutoring

Local high school students living in social housing have access to free laptops and online tutoring thanks to an $8,874 Singleton Community Relief Fund grant provided to Compass Housing Services.

The grants are funded by Singleton Council and BHP Vital Resources.

The laptops can be borrowed from Singleton Library for up to an entire school term. The tutoring is being provided through specialist company – The Tutoring Company – and is available until June 30.

Compass' Upper Hunter Community Participation Officer, Kristy King, said many school students faced disruption to their learning during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, which put some students at a disadvantage.

Ms King said young people in social housing don’t always have access to technology or have to share laptops with other family members.

She said online tutoring provides students with a safe, flexible and easily accessible way to complete schoolwork under expert guidance.

“Providing access to laptops and tutoring can make a big difference to the way young people engage with the education that is so important to their future,” she said. “Singleton Council and BHP have been very supportive of this initiative which will make an important difference in the lives of young people,” she said.

Ms King said Compass enjoyed great working partnerships with both Muswellbrook and Singleton councils under a common objective of helping those people living in community housing to gain the skills and support they need to maximise their economic and social participation in their community.

“Through a Muswellbrook Council grant to establish community gardens in tenant complexes we now have whipper snippers and battery powered lawn mowers to loan out to help tenants care for their properties.” 

Media information: Craig Eardley on 0437477493.

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