The Council to Homeless Persons team is a passionate group of people dedicated to ending homelessness. Our staff, board, and volunteers work towards this goal in partnership with people who are or who have been without a home.
Jenny’s professional life has been dedicated to the public sector. This includes 25 years in leadership and management roles in policy, management, government, training, and service delivery, across health, mental health, and community sectors.
Jenny joined the Council to Homeless Persons in 2011, following her role as General Manager Medical Services at St Vincent’s in Fitzroy. Jenny began her career as a social worker and family therapist. She has since completed a Master’s degree in social work and a Master’s qualification in public policy and management. She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has considerable experience as a Board Director of community sector agencies and she is currently Chair of Homelessness Australia.
Across her career, Jenny has partnered with colleagues to author a number of papers published in refereed journals. These include the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, Australian Social Work and The British Journal of Psychiatry. Jenny is passionate about applying her skills and experience to ending homelessness and about working in partnership with those who have experienced homelessness, the specialist homelessness sector, public sector providers, government, and the philanthropic and corporate communities.
Manager, Director of Policy and Communications
Kate is responsible for CHP’s policy and strategic communications. With over 20 years of experience in policy and advocacy roles, Kate has led sector campaigns on housing affordability and minimum rental standards, as well as climate change and transport issues. Kate is the spokesperson for the Everybody’s Home campaign and also played a key role in the Australians for Affordable Housing campaign, and led the national Vote Home campaign over the 2016 federal election.
Director of Services
Katie is responsible for leading the strategic development and operations of CHP’s human services capacity building, its lived experience programs, and its quality management. Katie works to strategically maximise opportunities in relation to Victoria’s specialist homelessness sector capacity building, to leverage the complex relationships that are needed with organisations in the education and training sphere, and to strengthen CHP’s capacity to deliver existing services and embrace new opportunities. Katie has spent much of her career working in the child, youth, and families sectors in both government and non-government positions. More recently, Katie has focused on the needs of people without a home both in advocacy and service delivery capacities. Katie holds Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor Science degrees.
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Kelly manages CHP’s administrative systems and provides support to the CEO and board. Kelly has extensive experience in administration and management across the hospitality, health, and aviation sectors. She holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree with a major in Health Promotion. Prior to joining CHP, Kelly managed non-clinical support services at the Alfred Hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Noel is the editor and manager of our monthly publication, Parity magazine and the CHP annual reports. Prior to joining CHP in 1998, Noel worked with various trade unions in publications, projects, and research capacities. Noel has also lectured in politics, sociology and public health at universities including La Trobe and RMIT.
Angela is responsible for the CHP Homelessness Advocacy Service (HAS). With more than 30 years of experience behind her in the tenancy, housing and homelessness sector, Angela passionately supports consumers through advocacy, negotiation and conflict resolution work. Angela also provides advice to community services staff on how to advocate for their clients.
Team Leader, Peer Education Support Program
Cassandra has been the team leader of the Peer Education Support Program (PESP) since 2011, after joining CHP as a member of the inaugural PESP team in 2005. Cassandra’s focus is on increasing consumer participation across the sector and promoting consumer rights. Cassandra has also helped to develop consumer articles for Parity magazine.
SHS Learning Program Coordinator
Andrew works in the Capacity Building Team to coordinate the delivery and ongoing development of the SHS Learning Program. The SHS Learning Program is a central portal for training and educational resources for workers in the Victorian Specialist Homelessness Sector, containing a mix of live training sessions, self-directed eLearning courses, and other useful resources. Previously, Andrew worked within the State-wide Regional Homelessness Networks, resourcing the local homelessness services.
Capacity Building Officer
Simon assists the development and delivery of CHP’s SHS Learning Program, including live training, eLearning, and content. Simon has worked in the homelessness sector for over ten years within Initial Assessment and Planning, Housing Options procurement, and Housing resource prioritisation. Prior to entering the sector, Simon worked with state governments in Victoria and Western Australia; he holds an Undergraduate Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences.
Policy and Advocacy Officer
Damien works to ensure that homelessness policy in Victoria is focused on the responses that will successfully end homelessness. With a focus on data, research, program evaluation and consumer experience, Damien works to inform government policy, and ensure that the voice of those experiencing homelessness and those who serve them is represented.
Digital Communications Officer
Lucy manages CHP’s digital communications, creating strategies and content to connect the Victorian community with news, campaigns, and resources to help end homelessness. Lucy is a dedicated communications specialist with over a decade of experience in the not-for-profit and media sectors. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Bachelor’s degree in English and Writing.
Everybody’s Home Coordinator
Andrea coordinates the actions and activities for Everybody’s Home campaign, the national campaign advocating to fix Australia’s housing crisis. Andrea is an experienced advocacy organiser, having worked in the union and international development movements on human rights, trade and business, and supply chains for 20 years. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a Master’s degree in International Relations.
Administration and Support Officer
Christy provides administrative and project support to our Office Manager, the Capacity Building team and the PESP program. Christy has been with CHP for two years and prior to this worked in the corporate sector for 20 years across New Zealand and Australia.
Nilgun oversees the finance function of CHP and provides support to our CEO, including budgeting, reporting, and supporting CHP programmes by monitoring and reporting on their financial status. Nilgun has varied and extensive experience in accounting, having worked across a range of sectors in Australia and the USA. She holds an undergraduate degree in Information Systems and a Master’s degree in Professional Accounting.
Jillie is responsible for the daily finance functions at CHP, processing accounts payable and accounts receivable transactions, and bank and credit card reconciliations. Prior to working at CHP, Jillie worked in the media industry for eight years as an assistant accountant. Jillie worked in the disability sector alongside her role at CHP during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jane Barnes has worked with The Salvation Army since 1993 and is General Manager of the Adult Services Network in Melbourne. Adult Services is an integrated network of support and related services including homelessness, mental health, alcohol and other drugs, justice, disability and aged care. Jane was a member of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Homelessness from 2000 to 2003, a member of the Victorian Ministerial Advisory Committee on Mental Health from 2005 to 2010, a member of the Victorian Ministerial Advisory Committee on Homelessness from 2011 to 2013 and is currently a member of the Ministerial Taskforce on Rough Sleeping.
Lucy Adams is the Strategic Advocacy and Policy Manager in the Civil Justice program at Victoria Legal Aid. She is focused on systemic advocacy and reform, informed by evidence from VLA’s work and the perspectives of clients, in the areas of economic and social rights, mental health and disability, equality and migration. Until 2018, Lucy was the manager and principal lawyer of Justice Connect Homeless Law, a specialist legal service for Victorians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Her work with Homeless Law was focussed on preventing homelessness and reducing the negative impact of the law on people experiencing homelessness.
David is Head of Infrastructure Australia & New Zealand at Macquarie Capital, a division of Macquarie Group, where he leads transport infrastructure advisory, working with infrastructure companies, investors, and government. David has been with Macquarie Capital for more than 11 years in Australia and overseas. He has formal qualifications in law and commerce and is a chartered accountant. David joined the CHP board in 2021 as an observer, before being elected as a director and appointed as Treasurer. David is passionate about continuing to assist CHP in representing organisations and individuals towards its goal of ending homelessness.
Celia Adams is a committed and experienced leader in the social services sector. A graduate in Sociology and Government (Management) from the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Celia has over 20 years of dedication to social justice and human rights in the housing, government and disability services. Celia grew up and was educated in Shepparton and is a passionate advocate for regional Victorians experiencing disadvantage, homelessness and housing crisis. Celia has been CEO of BeyondHousing for seven years, and was awarded the prestigious Beth Thomson Lifetime Achievement Award in the 2017 Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards.
Jenny Samms is a non-Executive Director on a number of boards and undertakes consultancy work in the not-for-profit sector. Jenny’s professional career spans 35 years in the Commonwealth and Victorian public services in education, labour, Aboriginal affairs, premier and cabinet, and planning and community development. She has held a number of senior executive positions focused on developing and implementing improved social policy, educational, and employment opportunities for Victorians. This includes CEO of Aboriginal Housing Victoria, with whom Jenny has recently worked to develop the ground-breaking Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework, Mana-na woorn-tyeen maar-takoort.
Jo Swift joined Kids Under Cover 17 years ago and in 2022 celebrates 14 years as CEO. Under her leadership, Kids Under Cover has seen significant growth in personnel, revenue, and service delivery, as the organisation continues to fight to prevent young people from becoming homeless.
Heidi Tucker has been CEO of Anchor Inc since 2015. Anchor works with vulnerable children, families and individuals to assist them to attain safe, secure and stable homes. Heidi has high level practitioner knowledge in the community services sector, having experience in both government and non-government organisations in several Australian states. She is a qualified Company Director through the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has previously served on the Victorian Parole Board and the Outer East Living, Learning and Education Network Board and as Chair of the Central Coast Community Legal Service.
Natalie is currently Chief Executive of Quantum Support Service, based in Gippsland. Quantum is a leading provider of community services across Gippsland including housing support and homelessness services in the region. Natalie has extensive experience as an executive leader in the healthcare sector, and began her career as a finance professional for BHP. Natalie brings a wealth of experience in governance, leadership, strategic planning, developing, and supporting collaborative teams.
Wayne Merritt is the General Manager of homelessness, justice and family services at Melbourne City Mission (MCM). Wayne brings over 20 years of experience working in the specialist homelessness services system and the adjacent service systems including not-for-profit child, youth and family services, health and local government. Wayne is currently responsible for the delivery of the state’s largest portfolio of youth homelessness services, a significant suite of adult and family homelessness services, alongside justice and integrated family responses.
Paul has worked in community-based social housing, public housing, and specialist homelessness services services for over 35 years. Across his various roles, he has been working with Council to Homeless Persons for over 15 years. As Executive General Manager of Client Services at VincentCare, Paul supports a team of approximately 300 people to deliver crisis and case management support, supported accommodation, outreach services, homelessness access points, family violence services and accommodation, and alcohol and other drug services. Paul has undergraduate qualifications in community development, counselling, and therapeutic practice, and postgraduate qualifications in clinical research, leadership, and management. He is also qualified in workplace and business coaching, and group-based strategic decision making.