Looking for homelessness or housing support? Find Help

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.

Our team

Deborah Di Natale


Deborah has a career-long commitment to social justice and advocacy for those who are experiencing disadvantage.

Deborah joined Council to Homeless Persons in 2023, following her role as CEO of the Northern Territory Council of Social Service, a peak body made up of not-for-profits, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and NGOs. She previously worked at Victoria Legal Aid in the family, law and civil division for over six years, as the Principal Solicitor of the Tenants’ Union advocating for housing as a human right, as the Legal Services Director at Justice Connect across Victoria and New South Wales, and as the Principal Lawyer at the North Australian Aboriginal Family Legal Service.

In both 2021 and 2022, Deborah was named as one of the Northern Territory’s 100 most powerful women. She holds an Executive Masters in Public Administration from the University of Melbourne.

With a deep interest in access to justice and system reform, Deborah is committed to working with the government, the sector and its allied services to forge better social outcomes for people without a home, while supporting a strong and sustainable homelessness service sector in Victoria.

[email protected]

Thomas Johnson

Director, Policy and Communications / Deputy CEO

Tom has over 20 years of experience working across Government, higher education and community sectors in Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory with expertise in advocacy, strategic communications, legislative policy design, government relations and strategy. Passionate about driving change, prior to arriving at CHP Tom was leading Uniting Vic.Tas’ advocacy, policy and research, working alongside service users to confront injustice.

[email protected]

Helen Duggan

Director of Services

Helen is part of CHP’s executive team and is responsible for leading the strategic growth and development of CHP’s capacity building offerings.

Helen has extensive experience in the community services, education and training sectors within public and non-profit organisations. Helen is passionate about addressing homelessness and ensuring the workforce is well-equipped and resourced to continue their important work.

[email protected]

Maria Murray

Manager, Lived Experience Programs, Quality and Special Projects

Maria leads the operations and development of CHP’s lived experience programs, including the Homelessness Advocacy Service and Peer Education Support Program. Maria has over 30 years of experience in the not-for-profit and government sectors, including within the areas of child protection and child welfare, alcohol and other drug services, allied and mental health services, and family violence. Through her work, Maria aims to privilege the voices of those affected by marginalisation, dislocation and disadvantage by providing advocacy and support.

[email protected]

Angela Kyriakopoulos

HAS Advocate

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.

[email protected]

Cassandra Corrone

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.

[email protected]

Andrew Edgar

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.

[email protected]

Simon Okely

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.

[email protected]

Noel Murray

Parity Editor

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.

[email protected]

Damien Patterson

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.

[email protected]

Kelly Shaw

Operations Support Manager

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.

[email protected]

Christy Hackney-Westmore

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.

[email protected]
0402 702 942

Nilgun Welense


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.

[email protected]

Jillie Ly


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.

[email protected]

Our board

Jane Barnes


Jane Barnes joined Wintringham in 2019 and took up the post of Chief of Staff in January 2020. Jane has worked in the homelessness sector for more than 30 years and has extensive experience in service design and management, system reform, policy development and advocacy.  Heavily involved in the redevelopment and subsequent closure of Melbourne’s nightshelters in the 1990’s, Jane is passionate about the need to continually work to improve service options for people experiencing homelessness. Jane has been a member of Ministerial Advisory Committees on Homelessness and Mental Health at both Commonwealth and State levels and is a member of the current Victorian Homelessness Ministerial Advisory Committee. 

Lucy Adams

Deputy Chair

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.

Celia Adams

Board Member

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.

David Porter


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.

Heidi Tucker

Board Member

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.

Lee-anne Chapman

Board Member

Lee-anne bring 30 years of experience in Community Services along with qualifications in Social Work. She has been working at Uniting Vic.Tas for almost 10 years, her current role is Group Manager Eastern Melbourne overseeing strategy and operations for a large suite of homelessness services, including two large Emergency Relief programs. Lee-anne also Chairs the Inner east Child and Family Services Alliance and is a member of the Orange Door Hub Leadership Group. Recently Lee-Ann has been involved in trialling new initiatives such as Homelessness to a Home and Homes for Families. Lee-anne is passionate about social justice issues, and how she can draw on her skills and experience to influence and advocate wherever she can to bring about positive change for our consumers.

Manu Kailom

Board Member

Manu is a refugee, an aspiring writer and Community Development Practitioner at Three for All Foundation, a not-for-profit international development organisation working with LGBTQIA+ populations. They also lead the work for Queer Refugee Asylum Seekers Program at Many Colored Sky, Chairs the Queer Refugee and Asylum Seeker Services Network, and sits advisory board sub committees to Drummond St Services and Uniting Vic Tas. Manu is a Community Research Fellow at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute of Melbourne University, with their research project looking at experiences of LGBTQIA+ refugees and asylum seekers accessing housing and homelessness services in Victoria.

Natalie McDonald

Board Member

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.

Paul Turton

Board Member

Paul has worked in community-based social housing, public housing and specialist homelessness services services for over 35 years. As CEO at VincentCare, Paul leads 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.

Stephen Schmidtke

Board Member

Stephen has been working with Sacred Heart Mission since 2012. Before he was appointed Deputy CEO, Stephen held roles as the Executive Director, Client Services and the General Manager for Aged Care Service at Sacred Heart Mission. He has been working in the health and welfare sector since the early 1990s, of which his previous position was General Manager Primary Health at a Community Health Service. Stephen holds a Bachelor of Human Services from Monash University and a Master of Clinical Family Therapy from La Trobe University, The Bouverie Centre. As well as holding paid positions, Stephen has held a number of voluntary board positions and participated in national and regional networks.

Wayne Merritt

Board Member

Wayne Merritt is currently the Chief Executive Officer of WAYSS. He 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.

Want to work with us?

Subscribe to CHP eNews

Get the latest homelessness insights and updates straight to your inbox with Council to Homeless Persons eNews.