Our Community

The strength of Compass is underpinned by our commitment to improve community wellbeing and liveability for our tenants.

We achieve this through building strong partnerships and delivering best practice service delivery in community development, place-making,  tenancy management, and asset management.

We understand that the best outcomes will be achieved through an integrated service, which understands and respects the people, place, potential, and possibilities for the potential clients of these projects.

Compass provides a number of Tenant Participation and Community Projects.
These include:

  • People Place Performance
  • The Meeting Place
  • Compass GROW Program
  • Tenant Incentive Scheme
  • Compass Connect Funding

People Place Performance

Compass aims to be more than merely a housing provider. While we certainly have a strong focus on ensuring lease obligations are met, we also work to engage with our People and encourage improvement in their physical and mental well-being,  to provide the best opportunity for them to have a bright future.

We work to ensure that our people are connected to their Place, including their home, neighbourhood and community. Design of peoples’ neighbourhood and provision of facilities can underpin a positive sense of place and community. Social inclusion has personal, community and economic benefits and is improved by a more positive connection to place.

Housing assets are strategically optimised to meet housing demand with sound economic management. Performance in managing the housing asset so that it is of acceptable standard and extending the life of the dwelling by diligent property management is crucial to maximising rental returns.

People, Place, Performance (PPP) is our approach to tenancy and asset management and it underpins our vision, that all people have appropriate and affordable shelter and are engaged in sustainable communities, and Compass are of the belief that these principles will influence overall performance from investment in People and their connection to Place.

PPP is also the umbrella which sees initiatives such as the GROW Program and its subset of programs, GROW A Star, the Tenant Incentive Scheme, Compass Connect Funding and The Meeting Place as well as various social and community activities which are integrated throughout the organisation. PPP has also provided Compass with the framework to establish a more holistic approach to tenancy and asset management and the initiatives under this are continuing to enrich the lives of our tenants.

The Meeting Place

Compass manages a local hub on the NSW Central Coast  ‘The Meeting Place’ which is a facility that provides a central place within the community where local residents can access a range of outreach services and participate in activities that build individual skills and strengthen the capacity of community members, providing support to not only Compass tenants but also to the whole community. There are a number of local services who are involved in offering services, participating in community building and partnering to provide activities and programs for the community.

A number of initiatives have been implemented at ‘The Meeting Place’ to promote tenant and community engagement, including a community garden, school holiday activities, sports in the neighbourhood, tenant groups, market days, morning teas, community events, free access to computers, and community noticeboards. The Meeting Place also provides training courses to Compass tenants and the community in its modern training room.

The types of courses offered include, First Aid Training, Certificate II in Food Handling and various practical diploma courses, such as the Diploma of Community Services and the Diploma of Child, Family and Youth Intervention. The key to the success of The Meeting Place is the warm, open and inclusive environment created by our capable staff and the valuable contribution from our tenant volunteers. Compass tenants and members of the community see the facility as a home away from home, a place to have their voice heard and know that they are welcome to drop by at any time.

GROW Program (GROW)

Our GROW program is the driver for our community development work. We centre our projects and activities on initiatives that focus on promoting our tenants‘ personal, community and environmental sustainability. While housing is our core business, Compass Housing Services differentiates itself from other community housing providers through our community development work.

Compass‘ established GROW program is now integrated throughout the PPP umbrella. This integration now allows Compass to implement a more holistic approach to our community development programs, with tie-ins to our tenancy and asset management functions. GROW continues to aim to enrich the lives of our tenants through enhancing their personal, social, environmental and economic sustainability.

The GROW program also aims to increase tenants’ awareness of and participation in health and nutrition programs, esteem and well-being programs, community contribution, economic participation, generational advancement, sustainable living practices and factors impacting on security of tenure.

Tenant Incentive Scheme

Compass continues to run our Tenant Incentive Scheme (TIS) in which tenants are encouraged to perform well in their tenancies.

The TIS was established to reward our best performing tenants. Each month tenancy managers give each tenant a score based upon their tenancy performance, according to set criteria such as on-time rent payments, invoice payments, bond payments and for maintaining dwellings that are clean and tidy. At the end of the year the best tenants are ranked according to their score throughout the year. The best performing tenants are graded in the following categories: gold, silver and bronze.

All tenants who reach the gold category are invited to a special lunch at the end of the year as a reward from the company for their excellent performance and receive 20% off bus trips and other social events.

Prizes are also drawn for tenants who reach gold, silver and bronze levels. The major prizes last year were for $1,000 and $500 cash.

This is funded through the interest from tenants‘ payment of rent in advance.

Compass Connect Funding

In 2012, under the PPP banner, the Board determined the allocation of special purpose funding for place making. The availability of funding was offered to our tenants through a tender process for projects run by tenant groups and branches for activities that promoted “place based initiatives”, tenant engagement and participation in the community.

These projects are assessed against a criterion that projects must demonstrate the enhancement of people, place and performance (of assets). Compass Tenancy Relations Support Officers are available to assist our tenants complete the application requirements to ensure equitable access. This funding has led to the activation of many shared spaces, skills based initiatives for tenants and community inclusion activities.

Other projects under Compass Connect have included establishment of other community gardens, fencing and gates; a community clean-up project; a BBQ area & garden; internet café/computer training courses; outdoor seating area; and solar security and lighting.

We are so excited about the outcomes from these projects, the following stories are just a few examples of what out tenants have achieved under our Compass Connect Funding.

Compass continued to see the results of our Compass Connect Project funding and we are proud to report the following projects were successfully undertaken through the year:


  • Rotary Graffiti Removal Project
  • Garden & Lighting Project – My Place Property
  • Pergola Area
  • Security & Social Area
  • Alexander Avenue Pergola
  • Community Room – This Way Home

Central Coast:

  • NILS Scheme – The Meeting Place
  • The Shack – The Meeting Place

Upper Hunter:

  • Energy Saving Education Day
  • Red Door Community Kitchen
  • Zoe Parah Gardens
  • Community Mural Project

Fresh Idea

In 2013, Maree approached Compass with an idea for a community garden to bring the tenants in her Compass complex together.

She'd noticed a lack of connection between the residents, with some struggling with loneliness and the day-to-day pressures of life.

Compass jumped at the opportunity to make this dream come to life, and now the tenants enjoy the community garden together.

Maree says the garden has flourished fruit, vegetables, flowers and new friendships.

Avery Street Complex Community Garden

In September 2012, a group of tenants came together in the belief that a community project could bring the residents of their complex together.

These tenants had an idea – to build a community garden that would provide all residents the opportunity to socialise with each another, as well as enjoy the fresh fruit and vegetables that the garden would deliver.

Before this project, the residents of Avery Street were often bored and found it hard to connect with one another. The complex contained a mixture of Compass and Housing NSW tenants.

Excited about the possibilities for their complex, these residents approached staff at The Meeting Place to discuss their idea for a community garden.

Compass Tenancy Support Officer for Central Coast, Joanne McGuire, began meeting with the residents each month to discuss their ideas to strengthen the spirit of the community.

The residents of both Compass and Housing NSW worked together as a volunteer team to plan the project, and decided to take on the responsibility of maintaining the garden once it was established. It was at this point that as a group, they submitted a grant application under the Compass Connect Project.

Joanne McGuire said “that when visiting the tenants of the complex at this time, it seemed that their spirit has come alive”. After numerous meetings with tenants and Housing NSW, everybody was excited at the prospect of working together to make their dream of a community garden a reality.

Through the guidance of Compass staff, volunteers and residents of the Avery Street Complex, the Community Garden has now become a reality.

For Compass the most satisfying part of the project is how the residents have now taken complete ownership of the project. We are truly excited to see that they regularly tend to the garden, and purchase mulch, fertiliser and look after it with tender loving care. The residents are enjoying their new ‘hobby’ and very grateful to Compass for giving the residents the opportunity to promote social inclusion through this project.

These residents and their families showed how a commitment and sense of pride can bring a community together.

Red Door Kitchen

Providing meals to those in need

Located in Muswellbrook, the Red Door Kitchen first opened its doors on Christmas Day 2013 to provide a traditional lunch and companionship to those in the community who were on their own, or unable to provide a Christmas dinner for their family.

It now delivers a fortnightly service providing a free nutritious hot lunch for those in need, and is known as a place of community inclusion, where people can share a meal and enjoy companionship.



Community Mural

Hunter Park Community Centre

A group of Compass tenants in Muswellbrook sought and were awarded funding under the Compass Connect Project funding for an initiative to create permanent art in the form of a community mural to assist in  restoring some of the character in the local Hunter Park. Also included was an activity day to include the children in this project and to provide some fun for the children in the area during summer school holidays in 2014.

The artwork represents a strong message based on ‘hands’ to represent the community working together and ‘feet’ to represent walking together and understanding each other.

The project has given local residents pride of place and a sense of achievement, after the only playground in the middle of the housing estate and attached to the Hunter Park Family Centre was affected by fire back in 2012. At the time of the project application there had been no improvements made to the park since the fire.  The park is a central park to residences, and is now a place where the community comes together.

Partners in this project include the Upper Hunter Community Services who donated food for the project working days and are also responsible for ongoing maintenance of the project, Leanne Ward, a local artist who donated her time in preparing the mosaic tiles, as well as the Muswellbrook Men’s shed and all of the wonderful tenants who volunteered. 

Our Compass Muswellbrook team has for some time and continues to work in conjunction with the community members of Muswellbrook Shire Council on improvements to the Muswellbrook South Estate.



Continuing to provide opportunities for our youth

In 2012 Compass launched our GROW A Star Program to provide opportunities for young Australians (not limited to Compass Housing Services tenants) to encourage generational change and to enable our children and youth to access sporting, music and academic activities and mentors.

Our focus is to identify and support young people that show an eagerness, talent or passion to develop their skills in a chosen field and fulfil their dreams. We have already had success in providing laptops and tutoring  for students, instruments for aspiring musicians, and opportunities for talented young sports people to compete at national levels.

GROW A Star continues to develop as a program. More and more children and young people are engaging with the program and are the recipients of support. To capture this interest and growth, we are exploring ways to increase external financial support, which will enable the program to be sustainable and have greater reach.

The support provided to children and young people to pursue their activities ranges from $100 a term, to a one-off payment of $2,500.

Activities can include dance lessons, scout membership, equestrian programs, tutoring, tennis tuition, soccer camps, athletics, swimming, life coaching, martial arts as well as tools that may be needed to help in education, sports or music such as a laptop, sporting equipment or musical equipment.

The GROW A Star program has the potential to become a strong, nation-wide program, to provide support to thousands of children  and young people throughout Australia. This program not only provides funding but also provides encouragement, support and knowledge of opportunities assisting to fulfil dreams. The following stories are just some examples of how this program has assisted in opening doors for some of the GROW A Star recipients.


Mundi's Story

Mundinarra is a tenant of Compass living with her mother.

She's a talented soccer player with the big dream of playing professionally.

While playing at representative level, Mundi gained the attention of The National Scouting Report, and with the help of the GROW A Star program, Compass is now assisting Mundi with the finance to head to an American College on a Scholarship Program.

Now Mundi can see her dream becoming a reality.

Liliana's Dream

Lilliana is a year 10 student with the goal of one day becoming an international model

While working part-time, an agency scout invited her to Sydney to attend a course and compile her portfolio, but there was a considerable cost involved - a cost that her family had no way of covering.

Being tenants of Compass, her mum decided to see if there was any help available - the GROW A Star team jumped at the chance to help out.

Lilliana's dreams of being a professional model are now within sight.



Hunter Homeless Connect

Over 28,000 people currently experience homelessness in NSW, with 7% residing in the Hunter region.

Given these statistics, it is no wonder that the Hunter Homeless Connect (HHC) Day has been a much needed event since its inception five years ago.

What ends up being a 5 hour day takes over 7 months in planning, and this year, Compass offered HHC Inc a staff member to help coordinate the event.

This year’s event was held on Tuesday 12th August, and saw over 1,000 guests through the door.

Over the course of the day, in excess of 500 blankets and 350 care packs were handed out, not to mention the hundreds of cups of coffee, bacon & egg rolls, nachos, and sausage and steak sandwiches that were served.

Hunter New England Health teams provided a health “Pit Stop” where they estimated they assessed 50 people. The teams also served “walk in” clients, who wanted help with specialty medical areas, such as dental, or simply take some health information.

Podiatrists also treated 21 people, while the Immunisation team had run out of flu vaccine by the day’s end.

TAFE hairdressing students attended, and provided over 400 haircuts. The Australian College of Massage and TAFE massage students also provided countless massages throughout the day.

This is on top of the seventy-plus services offering free clothing, legal and financial advice, family programs and services, crisis and long term accommodation options, health information, indigenous services, youth specific and employment services and government agencies.

The event was also marked by quality entertainment and sporting events, and despite the rain, people kept arriving throughout the day.

There was such a positive community spirit evident throughout the event, and people’s first response was that it was a great day out. This was a day for people to meet one another, talk, and have a good time.

Compass is proud of being such an enormous contributor to this year’s event, which received wide media coverage, and provided so many of those in need with support.

Photography by April Werz
Courtesy of Hunter Homeless Connect