Our Housing

Compass Housing Services is Australia’s largest community housing provider with a proven ability to manage a wide range of tenancies under a variety of programs.

We undertake all aspects of tenancy and property management, including allocations and wait-list management.

Compass has extensive experience in providing tailored tenancy services, and we specialise in managing the specific needs of our different residents, cultures and housing programs.

Community Housing

Community housing continues to be an integral part of our operations, representing 88% of Compass’ entire housing portfolio.

Community housing aims to provide safe, secure, affordable, and appropriate rental housing. Community housing provides short, medium and long term accommodation, and is defined as rental housing provided by not-for-profit community based organisations at below market rent for very low to moderate income households.

Compass provides housing assistance on a basis which provides opportunities for participatory management, and constructive links with community development and support services in sustaining their tenancies.

Compass’ community housing portfolio encompasses:

Disability Housing


Supported Housing


Indigenous Housing


Homelessness Housing


Affordable Housing

Rhonda's Story


Rhonda suffered health problems in early life that left her feeling powerless and alone.

Given the health battles she has endured, she could be excused for shrinking back and giving up, but has instead done the opposite.

She has been an exceptional Compass tenant for 15 years and in that time has served as an inspiration to other tenants.

She maintains her home beautifully and selflessly gives back to her community through a variety of volunteer work.

With a positive outlook on life and genuine gratitude toward Compass and all they’ve done for her, Rhonda lives a fulfilling life.

Disability Housing

During the 2013-14 financial year Compass provided housing assistance to 3,902 households comprising of 6,559 people, of these people 20% of them indicated they were living with a physical or mental disability.

Compass together with our support partners work to provide our tenants and housing applicants living with a disability equitable access to housing that enable them to pursue lifestyles of their choice; and to participate fully in all aspects of community life.

Compass strives to provide the best service to these tenants, many of whom have complex needs, so that they may feel secure in their tenure and so they have opportunities to engage and contribute to their community.

Compass recently delivered our first two dwellings of twenty under the Supported Accommodation Innovation Fund (SAIF). The SAIF properties were funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and Compass Housing and are owned and managed by Compass with Ability Options as our support partner in this project. The remaining dwellings will be completed by December 2014. The dwellings are designed to provide independent living for people with severe and/or profound support needs.

SAIF offers a new way of living for these people in an architecturally designed brand new home in a safe and supported environment. Participants in the SAIF units are funded from a variety of sources including the National Disability Insurance Agency.

One of our first tenants under this program Jema-Lee, was excited about the life that would be made possible through her new accommodation.

I’m very happy with making and creating new friends and friendships and I will look forward to having sleepovers with my friends and being independent.

I will be doing the same thing as my brother, sisters and cousins are doing. This is very important to me.

I know I still have family who will visit me and I know that I will be more independent from my family as well.

Supported Housing

Compass provides a diverse range of housing programs within our communities which provide assistance to people who may have difficulties obtaining or maintaining housing in the public and private market due to their support needs.

Tenants housed in supported accommodation are the most vulnerable and require various levels of support to gain independent living successfully.

Our supported housing services assist a wide range of people; these include people with disabilities, individuals with mental health issues, young families, women and children escaping domestic violence, indigenous persons and families, seniors and people leaving the criminal justice system, and those experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

Compass has extensive and well-developed relationships with a variety of support service providers who assist our tenants in supported accommodation to successfully live independently, ensuring these tenancies are secure and sustainable and provide a wide variety of services to our clients who are in need of support.

Compass has expanded our supported housing portfolio to include a specialised housing program Compass Housing Youth Accommodation for youth (aged 16-25 years of age). This program is located in Newcastle in a brand new complex consisting of studio and one bedroom apartments.

The program is targeted to youth and young adults who are studying or working and who need and are engaged with a support provider.

 

Recently Compass also delivered two boarding houses located in Waratah and Adamstown, funded under the Commonwealth Government’s Vested Asset Leveraging Program (VALP) and the NSW Government’s New Generation Boarding House Program respectively. These boarding houses are a welcome addition to our supported housing portfolio and will once again expand the breadth of housing products we deliver to those most in need.

Compass continues to manage supported tenancies through programs such as the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program and Crisis Accommodation Program. These supported housing programs assist people who may have difficulties obtaining or maintaining housing in the public and private market due to their support needs.

Also with the introduction of the NSW Government’s ‘Going Home Staying Home’ reform, Compass has forged new partnerships with a number of non-government organisations to further assist in providing crisis and transitional services to our most vulnerable at-risk clients to assist in breaking cycles of homelessness.

Our support partnerships are a continued important part of delivering and maintaining safe and secure housing and improved living for our clients.

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Amanda


Amanda felt smothered in a one bedroom apartment with three children. With the help of the ERA program, Amanda has a home and a qualification in nursing, working at her local hospital.

Indigenous Housing

Australia’s Indigenous populations in remote areas present the greatest level of housing need. One quarter of Australia’s Indigenous people live in remote areas.

Compass has managed Indigenous housing under various programs for the Aboriginal Housing Office, various Aboriginal Land Councils, RSM Bird Cameron, Housing NSW under stock transfer and the NSW Department of Family & Community Services. The properties have been located in various regional and remote locations including Broken Hill, Wilcannia, Menindee, Balranald, Dareton, Dubbo, East Maitland and Newcastle.

Compass continues to provide tenancy and asset management services for the Aboriginal Housing Office in Broken Hill, Menindee, Wilcannia and East Maitland.

This year Compass commenced management of Indigenous housing in Dubbo provided by the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office through its Employment Related Accommodation (ERA) Program, and funded under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing. The ERA program helps eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a connection to remote NSW, to take up employment, education or training in regional areas where there are more opportunities, by providing safe, secure and affordable short-term accommodation.

This program is made up of a number of unique individuals who believe in striving for the best and making a difference. We are so proud of our tenants who have participated in this program, and there has been great achievements made. Here are some highlights from the past year.

VidTeaser-Codi

Codi


Codi couldn't secure regular housing due to his apprentice wage. With the help of Compass, Codi can obtain his trade without the anxiety of homelessness looming over his head.

 

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Tina


Tina was living in temporary accommodation in a one-bedroom flat with her three young children. Tina has now finished studying her qualification and is working in the paediatric ward at her local hospital, while her children are now settled in school.

Homelessness Housing


Homelessness has many faces, women, young people, older people, families and singles. Homelessness can happen to anyone for a number of reasons, but the simple fact is that the problem can’t be solved without an affordable and secure home.


Homeless

Compass’ vision is that all people have appropriate and affordable shelter and that those people are engaged in sustainable communities. We are passionate about being involved in homelessness initiatives.

This year Compass continues to manage the ‘This Way Home’ Project which provides a unique model, with a framework of collaboration and the objective of increasing the successful outcomes for persons experiencing homelessness who want to gain and sustain a tenancy in the private, social or public housing market.

The ‘This Way Home’ project is a partnership between Compass, The Samaritans Foundation, Mission Australia, the Salvation Army, Nova Women’s Accommodation and Support, Baptist Community Services, Catholic Care Hunter-Manning and Wesley Mission.

Since commencement 3 years ago ‘This Way Home’ has assisted almost 270 individuals suffering from or at risk of homelessness. With the majority of those transitioning from temporary or medium term accommodation into long term public, affordable or private housing.


Photography by April Werz
Courtesy of Hunter Homeless Connect

55

Clients
Housed

16

Families Have
Been Restored

26 Have secured long term accommodation in the private or social housing sector

4 Have gained employment

8 Are volunteering

9 tenancies were terminated by compass

4 Tenancies ended

From October 2012 to the 30th June 2014, Compass housed 55 clients in medium term accommodation. Of these 55 clients housed:

  • 26 have secured long term accommodation either in the private or social housing sector,
  • 9 ceased due to breaches of tenancy agreements,
  • 4 ceased due to incarceration,
  • 4 have gained employment, 8 are volunteering.

The project not only provides accommodation to those in need, it also aids in the personal development of those at the site through development programmes. The programmes include male and female domestic violence sessions, parenting classes, cooking on a budget, work development orders and the very successful and useful ‘Rent it Keep it’ sessions.

This Way Home’s focus is to move beyond simply managing homelessness to breaking the cycle of homelessness permanently. This project has demonstrated our understanding, as well as promoted externally, the effectiveness of a collaborative support and tenancy management model in homelessness and in high need short to medium term tenancies. Compass is working towards continuing to further expand our ‘This Way Home’ Model to other service areas.

James’ Story

James was living with his mother and studying for his HSC when she threatened to kick him out on the street.

With the possibility of homelessness looming and a busy study schedule James decided it was time for a helping hand.

The team at Compass were concerned for James’ wellbeing and promptly found him an apartment close to where he was studying. This enabled James to complete his HSC and move in to further study at TAFE.

James now has a job caring for children with special needs and loves that he gets to give back to the community.

He has moved on from his apartment with Compass and is now in a private rental with some friends. James is very thankful to Compass and gratefully expressed that

if it weren’t for them I’d be living on the streets without an education or a job

 

Matt

Matt’s
Direction
Home

CONNECTIONS THROUGH HOMELESSNESS


A COMPASS CASE STUDY

My life has honestly just been one big emotional rollercoaster, one problem after another.

I guess it stems back from my childhood, I lost my father to suicide at 2 years old, I don’t even remember what he looked like, all I have is one picture of him.

My father’s suicide impacted on my mum so much that even still, to this day, she has constant nightmares as well as anxiety, depression and PTSD.

Growing up my childhood was always a constant struggle, whether I’d have to ride 8km’s each night to get myself dinner, or put myself to bed after my mother had passed out from drinking too much, I had to grow up quickly.

Once I started high school and after nearly 2 years of living with my grandparents my mum had stopped drinking, got a job and I moved back with my mum up the North Coast.  Everything was looking good until she started drinking every afternoon after work. From there it was a slow downward spiral.

My mother started drinking more and more and I started to eat as a coping mechanism, resulting in me weighing 130kg.

After I finished high school we moved back to Newcastle to better our work opportunities, eventually moving to Cessnock. We were couch hopping between friend’s houses for the next 6 months until we finally got a place we could call our own.

Over the next 4 years I slowly became trapped in an abusive relationship with my mother, being verbally, mentally and physically abused every single day.

I started walking everywhere just so that I wasn’t at home while my mum was drinking.  After 2 years of doing this I dropped half my body weight, down to 65kg.

Although losing weight made me happier, the relationship I had with my mother had deteriorated so much that I didn’t want to be alive anymore, driving me to try and take my own life several times.


I just couldn’t see a way out of this situation, I had no money, nowhere to go and no rental references.


 

It wasn’t until I decided I’d had enough, and was about to pack a bag of clothes and hitch-hike to wherever, when I asked a friend if they knew of anyone who could help.  They called a caseworker from Reaching Home who told me about Hunter Homeless Connect Day which just happened to be on the next day.

After arriving at the Homeless Connect Day I couldn’t believe how many different services were available to me. I was introduced to a worker from Mission Australia who immediately began trying to find me a safe home, coordinating with Compass Housing and within 3 weeks after that day I was all moved into my spacious 1 bedroom unit in East Maitland.

I’ve been living in that unit for 9 months now and I can say that without a doubt its been the happiest 9 months of my life and I’ve got Mission Australia, Compass Housing and Hunter Homeless Connect to thank for that.

Affordable Housing

Compass owns and manages affordable housing which is primarily for working households on low to moderate incomes who generally don’t meet the eligibility for public housing and who may have difficulty securing affordable housing in the private rental market.

With the increase of housing costs and the very tight rental market affordable housing is a very important part of our portfolio.

Compass’ affordable housing portfolio is funded under various programs by Commonwealth and state government grants, including the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), Debt Equity Funding and the Social Housing Growth Fund (SHGF) grant. It is also funded by Compass through debt finance and through leveraging from our current assets.

Compass also manages affordable housing for Housing NSW, Centre for Affordable Housing under the Building Better Cities program.

These are purpose built properties located in six redevelopment estates in the Newcastle area.

Jointly funded by the Commonwealth and state government, this program has been part of an immensely successful renewal of the Honeysuckle precinct and inner Newcastle surrounds as well as providing affordable housing and being a catalyst for market regeneration and growth. This program is targeted to key workers in the Newcastle area.

Affordable housing enables eligible tenants to reside within existing communities or near workplaces at a rebated rent and represents 7% of Compass’ total housing portfolio.

The transitional aspect of affordable housing encourages tenants to pursue real property ownership while paying reasonable rent in their present circumstances. This has delivered terrific outcomes, and we have had tenants go on to private home ownership through this program.

These properties are managed out of our commercial real estate office My Place Property (MPP). MPP is a division of Compass Housing Services Co Ltd and has been operating in Newcastle as our specialist affordable housing office since February 2012.  During the financial year My Place Property became a separate commercial entity, with all future profits generated to be invested back into Compass to source additional affordable housing. In 2014-2015, MPP will continue to transition from an affordable housing property management service to a competitive Real Estate agency. This will include developing our services in Newcastle and progressing opportunities to expand into other areas.

Elisa

In late 2013, Elisa Gomez walked in to the My Place Property office hoping for an easier solution to her housing needs.


At 65 years of age, Elisa, a part time nurse at the Mater Hospital, was travelling up to 2 hours a day through hectic traffic to get to and from work. She was also struggling to make the weekly rental payments at her private rental in Booragul.

With grandchildren in Sydney, Elisa also wanted something close to public transport to make the journey easier.

Within a few weeks Compass Housing had found a solution.

Elisa was shown through an apartment complex in Newcastle West right near the train station. It was a secure building with lift access to her door, and with the help of Compass, was made affordable for the grandmother.

Elisa’s face immediately lit up as she inspected the property.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she struggled to find the words to thank the Compass staff.


You have no idea what this means to me … thank you, thank you!  I’m just so happy.

Elisa is proof that there are people in our communities who aren’t eligible for social housing, but may not be able to afford the private rental market.

Without affordable housing, hard-working individuals like Elisa may be vulnerable to the risk of homelessness.