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08 Jul 2020


Compass Housing Services is one of seven Hunter-region-based institutions to have founded a task force to advocate and drive the local adoption of the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The group of businesses, not-for-profits and government bodies – Compass Housing Services, Port of Newcastle, City of Newcastle, Hunter Water, Kumalie, Port Waratah Coal Services and University of Newcastle – have committed to raising awareness and actively implementing the SDGs in the region.

The establishment of the Task Force follows the UN’s launch a decade of action to deliver the global goals.

Compass has taken a lead role in advocating for sustainability nationally and internationally particularly through the promotion of the implementation of the UN SDGs and New Urban Agenda (NUA). Group Managing Director, Greg Budworth, is Vice President of the UN Habitat General Assembly of Partners.

Initiatives include:

  • integrating the SDGs into Compass’ strategic plan, business systems and its People, Place, Performance (PPP) programs to help deliver sustainable tenancies, social regeneration and increase social and economic participation
  • aligning business operations to the SDGs to play its part in ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all
  • giving all staff have KPIs on sustainability and waste and emissions reduction
  • hosting the International Congress of Affordable Living in Sustainable Cities in November 2018 and co-organising other NUA and SDG events 
  • achieving  Gold Partner Status in the NSW Government’s Sustainability Advantage Recognition Scheme
  • the appointment of a Sustainability Manager who was named 2019 sustainability champion in the NSW Government’s Sustainability Advantage Recognition Scheme.


Sustainability is at the heart of Compass’ operations because it makes good business sense. Underpinning the commitment to sustainability is a belief that safe, affordable and adequate housing is a basic human right. 

Compass works with its tenants help them to participate in  building resilient, sustainable and inclusive communities.

The New Urban Agenda (NUA) is the outcome document from the UN Habitat lll Conference held in Quito in 2016.  Australia is one of 193 nations to adopt the 2015 SDGs and one of 167 signatory nations to the NUA.

Information on how the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda align is available at https://www.sdgsnewurbanagenda.com.

Task Force members are sharing resources and are running a webinar series. These are open to anyone interesting in advancing or learning more about SDGs. Compass is calling on other Hunter organisation to join the Task Force. For more information visit https://huntersdgtaskforce.org/join-the-network




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The Hon Gareth Ward and Greg Budworth
01 Jul 2020

Minister Visits New Specialist Disability Group Home

Today, the NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, The Hon Gareth Ward, inspected one of the final new group homes being built for people with a disability as part of the Hunter Residences program.

The purpose-built, five-bedroom home at Morisset will be a new home for residents transferring from the government’s soon to be closed Kanangra centre. 

Compass Housing Services is part of the Home4Life consortia which will finance, build and manage 65 purpose-built homes across NSW for 325 residents who are also transferring from the Stockton and Tomaree centres.

Compass Housing Services Group Managing Director, Greg Budworth, accompanied Minister Ward on the inspection.

Mr Budworth said safe, affordable, housing is a fundamental human right.

“We believe people with disabilities have a right to live in a community, rather than an institution, and to participate fully in that community,” Mr Budworth said.

“This is a new way of delivering contemporary, high quality, Specialist Disability Accommodation.” he said.

Mr Budworth said with more than 200 residents having already transferred to their new home for life, he has seen how living in these purpose-built homes, with highly specialised 24-hour support from Supported Independent Living (SIL) specialists, is changing those residents lives for the better.

Mr Ward said that smaller living arrangements provide opportunities for people with disability to participate more in the community, gain greater choice and control and receive tailored supports.

“Residents who move into this new home will have access to accommodation that meets their individual needs,” Mr Ward said.

“This not only marks the start of the transition into their new home, but the start of the next exciting stage of their life,” he said.

The other Home4Life partners are BlueCHP who has designed and built the homes and LightHouse Infrastructure has helped to finance the program. Compass will manage and maintain the properties. The SIL for the home inspected by the Minister is Disability Services Australia – one of six SILs selected by the Government. 

Compass is a Newcastle-based, Tier 1, not for profit community housing provider and an NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation provider. It manages almost 7000 properties in NSW and Queensland, including properties for people with disabilities.


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Person sleeping rough
29 Jun 2020

Compass Secures Together Home Funding

Compass Housing Services (Compass) has been selected to be part of the NSW Government’s largest housing response dedicated to rough sleepers in the state’s history.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, Gareth Ward, said the $36 million Together Home project will deliver stable housing and wrap-around support for hundreds of people experiencing homelessness.

“Part of this initiative is about finding people a place to call home, but the critical next step is supporting them with the services they need improve their health and wellbeing, and to rebuild their lives,” Mr Ward said.

Compass is one of 19 community housing providers who will work with specialist homelessness services and healthcare workers. It will deliver the program in the Hunter region, including initially providing around 30 homes for those currently sleeping rough.   

Compass Chief Operating Officer, Lisa Tierney, said Together Home is different to programs run in the past because the funding will be managed directly by the community housing providers.

Ms Tierney said this is in line with the Housing First Model. She said it will help ensure both housing and support services are tailored to the individual.

“It is a similar approach to the philosophy of the NDIS – the funding is attached to a specific person to support their specific needs,” Ms Tierney said.

“With individual case management we can do case planning from the start of a person’s tenancy to help keep a roof over their head,” she said.

“A safe home is vital to people’s health and well-being as well as to help people to work, study and participate fully in the community.”

The program is being implemented as an expansion of the Community Housing Leasing Program (CHLP). Compass and other community housing providers will head lease properties in the private rental market to house people who are sleeping rough. They will engage specialist homelessness services and other support providers to deliver wrap-around, client centred, supports.

Together Home is a key initiative to support the Premier’s Priority to end homelessness and to halve street sleeping by 2025, and aims to transition clients onto a trajectory away from homelessness and into long-term, stable housing. The NSW Government has invested more than $70 million to prevent and respond to homelessness during the pandemic, on top of the more than $1 billion invested this financial year in housing and homelessness support.

Compass is a not for profit, Tier 1 community housing provider managing almost 7,000 properties in NSW and Queensland. It is a member of the Hunter Big Ideas Homeless Network and provides co-ordination for Hunter Homeless Connect Inc’s annual Hunter Homeless Connect Day.


Homelessness statistics

  • The Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said that 116,42 people were homeless on census night in 2016, representing 50 homeless people per 10,000. 1,750 of those were experiencing homelessness in the Hunter region.
  • 28,000 Australians between 12-25 years old are experiencing homelessness every night.
  • A survey conducted by volunteers at the 2018 HHCD event revealed that for the third straight year, women outnumbered men among those seeking assistance. The 40-54 age group (combined) represented the largest number of attendees.
  • 145,000 Australian households are waiting for social housing.


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Home being built
17 Jun 2020

Compass welcomes Queensland’s $267M Building Stimulus Package

Leading community housing provider (CHP), Compass Housing Services, has welcomed the Queensland government’s $267 million building stimulus announced on June 16 as a good start to boost economic recovery while tackling the state’s housing crisis.

Compass Managing Director Greg Budworth said the package will boost housing supply and support a range of housing users including the state’s most vulnerable people.

Mr Budworth said the Works for Tradies housing program will deliver 215 new, urgently needed, social housing properties homes by the end of the year across the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Wide Bay, Moreton Bay, Toowoomba and Ipswich.

He said the package could work harder for state taxpayers by allowing not for profit CHPs to manage the new properties.

“CHPs can attract Commonwealth Rent Assistance subsidies which they can leverage to build more social and affordable housing,” Mr Budworth said.

He said it was important that the state and Federal government’s worked together to build even more social housing.

“Queensland has 21,000 households on its social housing waiting lists and a report we prepared last showed these figures would be higher if everyone eligible applied for social housing.”

“Nationally, we have a shortage of more than 400,000 affordable homes for low income households.”

“Unlike the Federal Government’s Homebuilder Scheme, this package will stimulate new construction activity rather than just subsidising projects that would have happened anyway.”

He said the focus on regional Queensland was also welcome.

“There tends to be a focus on the high housing prices and rents in capital cities but our research shows that many people in regional Australia, who have lower incomes than those in capital cities, experience housing stress.”

Modelling by the Community Housing Industry Association and National Shelter, as part of the Social Housing Acceleration and Renovation Proposal, shows that investing in 30,000 new social housing homes over four years will create between 15,500 and 18,000 full time equivalent jobs per year.

Compass Housing is a not for profit, Tier 1, community housing provider that manages more than 7,000 properties in Queensland and NSW.    



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15 Jun 2020

Specialist disability accommodation changes lives but it needs to be in people’s NDIS Plan

Leading, Hunter based, provider of specialist disability housing, Compass Housing, says the region’s growing stock of specialist disability accommodation (SDA) will help to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families.  

Compass’ Executive Manager SDA, Helga Smit, said some people remain unaware of the availability and benefits of SDA. Ms Smit said SDA needs to be approved by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and be in a person’s NDIS plan for them to access the housing.

SDA is available for people with a permanent disability who have very high support needs. SDA funding is paid to the person with a disability in their NDIS plan which they use to lease SDA housing or a room in a group home from a registered SDA provider.

Ms Smit said it is important for people to start planning for SDA early.

“It can take a long time to get SDA into a plan,” Ms Smit said.

“You don’t need to have identified a particular house to test for SDA eligibility and you can get SDA in a plan to use in the future. This is important if the health of the person with the disability or their parents starts to deteriorate,” she said.

Ms Smit sees, first-hand, people with disabilities thriving in this accommodation.

One resident of a property Compass manages is Chris. In state care since he was four, Chris, now 59, lives in a new, specially designed five bedroom home, with 24 hour support. Since moving in, Chris has built a chicken pen in the backyard. He tends the chickens, collects eggs and helps maintain the vegetable gardens with fellow residents.

“SDA is providing Chris and other people with disabilities the chance to live more independently, in the community, rather than an institution.”

A new report by Social Ventures Australia and Summer Foundation, Specialist Disability Accommodation – Supply in Australia, shows a welcome growth in the supply of SDA housing in Australia but says there remains a significant shortfall. But Compass Housing has a limited number of vacancies in newly built SDA properties in the Hunter and other parts of NSW.

Ms Smit said SDA also offers a solution to the problem of thousands of young people inappropriately living in residential aged care facilities.

She said Compass has a long and successful history of managing homes for people with high and complex levels of support. It is one of the largest SDA providers in Australia, managing around 1070 SDA places.

Compass also provides fee for service disability tenancy and property management for organisations. In March it won a two-year contract to provide such services at Summer Housing’s new Circa Three apartments in Brisbane. Compass already manages other Summer Housing apartments including 10 located within the Belle development in Lake Macquarie.

Compass is registered under the National Community Housing Regulatory System as a Tier 1 Provider and is a nationally registered SDA Provider with the NDIS.

It has produced a free five step guide to getting SDA into an NDIS Plan at https://www.compasshousing.org/getting-sda-your-plan

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