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COVID-19 and Homelessness: Online Event

COVID-19 and Homelessness: Online Event
Live Online Event 
Wednesday 17 June 2020 (AEST)
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
Professional & Associate $25
Affiliate $35
Non Member $55
Registrations for this event close 16 June 2020 at 5:00 PM

Please note we use zoom for our online events.

If you are a NSW public sector employee, then you are eligible for Affiliate membership free of charge. Click here to join.

How COVID-19 created new ways for tackling one of our most complex public policy challenges


Halving street sleeping by 2025 is one of the NSW Premier’s Priorities and reducing homelessness has been a long-term public policy goal of all Australian governments.

But all governments have struggled to create major reductions in rates of homelessness with the 2016 Census finding there were 116,000 people experiencing homelessness in Australia, an increase of 15 per cent since 2011.

A recent COVID-19 initiative has used the opportunities created, initially during 2017 with the rise of the homelessness tent city and now as a result of the current pandemic, to help more people take a step into secure accommodation.  

The collapse in tourism and business travel has created a large number of empty hotel rooms and more than 1500 people experiencing homelessness have now been moved into three, four and five-star hotels in the Sydney metropolitan area under a NSW Government scheme that helps them to stay safe and socially distant. 

This online event will explore the response to COVID-19 and what insights it offers to creating longer-term housing solutions and connecting vulnerable people to services that improve their health, well-being and independence.


Recent unprecedented public challenges have required the NSW public sector to respond in extraordinary ways. 

One of the most profound of these is the innovative intervention developed by the Department of Communities and Justice and its homelessness partner agencies in the inner city of Sydney in response to COVID-19. 

The panel will discuss their cross-sector collaboration, outcomes and its potential to help break the cycle of disadvantage. 

They will share their insights into what has allowed them to collaborate and deliver results at speed.  

Their learnings have application for anyone who is dealing with complex issues that would benefit from cross-sector collaboration.


Penny Church
Director Commissioning and Planning
Department of Communities and Justice

Penny Church has worked in NSW government human services for over 30 years, working in housing, community services and health. She has held senior roles in policy development, planning, program management and operations. In her current role as Director Commissioning and Planning, NSW Department of Communities and Justice Penny leads on the Department’s responses to homelessness in the inner city of Sydney. A key component of this work is cross-sector engagement and leading partnerships with government, local government and homelessness services. 
Penny is committed to improving outcomes for individuals, families and communities, particularly for people who sleep rough.
Penny holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Technology Sydney, a Graduate Diploma in Public Administration and a Master of Arts (Psychology), both from the University of Sydney.
Shane Jakupec
Regional Manager, Metro 1 NSW
Neami National Hurstville

Shane Jakupec works as a Regional Manager for Neami National in NSW. He has worked in the community managed mental health sector since 2000 and been working with the specialist homelessness sector since 2012. 

He has worked with programs such as the Housing, Accommodation and Support Initiative (HASI), Partners in Recovery (PIR) and Assertive Outreach Homelessness. Shane has qualifications in mental health, training and leadership and holds a Master of Social Work (qualifying). Shane's work history has included direct service delivery, management and leadership, working as a trainer and also in service development. 

Shane is a board member of the End Street Sleeping Collaboration and a member of the Central and Eastern Sydney PHN Community Council. Shane has recently been involved in coordinating the COVID-19 response in Metro Sydney. 

To support self-isolation, people sleeping rough have been offered temporary accommodation in a hotel with wrap around support to identify their needs and support them into more secure forms of housing. 

Rebecca Sarkies 

A/Homeless Health Service Manager  
St Vincent’s Hospital Homeless Health Service

Rebecca Sarkies is the Acting Homeless Health Service Manager at St Vincent’s Hospital. Rebecca completed a Bachelor of Nursing, Major in Mental Health at the University of Notre Dame. 

Rebecca started working at St Vincent’s Hospital 9 years ago as a New Graduate Registered Nurse. She has worked in various senior clinical nursing and managerial positions across the Mental Health and Homeless Health Service. Her first role with the Homeless Health Service was as a Clinical Nurse Specialist back in 2015 before moving to the Assertive Outreach Services Manager position. 

Rebecca has completed a dual Masters in Public Health and Health Management at the University of New South Wales. Rebecca is a strong believer in interagency and intersectoral collaboration and where there is an interface between health and external stakeholders. 

She has a sound understanding of health care systems and service delivery particularly for those most vulnerable in our community through her skills, experience and qualities as a clinician and manager within the health care system. 

Rebecca has a strong social justice lens which underpins her professional commitments and endeavours. Rebecca understands the important role she plays in reducing stigma and building capacity when given the opportunity and platform to do so.


Paul Vevers

Deputy Secretary
NSW Department of Communities and Justice 

Paul is a Deputy Secretary at the Department of Communities and Justice. He is responsible for social housing services, disability services and for disaster welfare support to Resilience NSW. He manages three of the Department’s Districts which provide child protection, out of home care and public housing. 

He is a passionate leader of the government’s on-the-street services to people sleeping rough. Starting his career working with young people with a disability in Switzerland, he moved to child protection in London. He subsequently worked for Fujitsu for three years and then joined the UK Audit Commission. 

Since 2000, Paul has worked in various regional management roles in NSW in housing and homelessness and became a Deputy Secretary four years ago now. He is the Department’s lead on the Premier’s Priority on Homelessness.

How to Register

You must register to secure your spot. After logging in to your account/creating an account, click 'register myself' and agree to our terms and conditions. Once you have agreed, save your response.

Then click proceed to checkout, add payment details and submit your order. If you do not receive a confirmation email from IPAA, you have not successfully registered. 

A link to the event will be sent to those that have registered the day before the event. 

Please note, if you have an outstanding invoice for this event, you will not receive a link to the live event. 

Registrants will have access to the recording for 365 days after the event.


Contact our office on 02 8066 1911 or email [email protected] for any questions and/or clarifications.

17/06/2020 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
AUS Eastern Standard Time
Sydney 2000 AUSTRALIA
Terms and Conditions

Payment is required prior to attending the event or course. Please contact an IPAA NSW staff member if an exception is required.

Payments - Online Events

If you have an outstanding invoice for the event, you will not receive a link to the live event. 

Online Events

Only people registered to the event can access the content. Do not share login details with people who have not registered to the event

Cancellation policy - Events
  • Cancellation must be in writing and confirmed by an IPAA NSW staff member
  • Cancellation received more than 10 business days prior to the event – no penalty will be incurred
  • Cancellation received within 6-10 business days of the event – 50% of the fee is payable
  • Cancellation received less than 6 business days prior to the event – 100% of the fee is payable
  • No show – 100% of the fee is payable
  • Registrations received less than 6 business days prior to the event are non-refundable.
Cancellation policy - Scheduled Courses
  • Cancellation must be in writing and confirmed by an IPAA NSW staff member
  • Cancellation received more than 10 business days prior to the start date – no penalty will be incurred
  • Cancellation received within 6-10 business days of the start date – 50% of the fee is payable
  • Cancellation received less than 6 business days prior to the start date – 100% of the fee is payable
  • No show – 100% of the fee is payable
  • Registrations received less than 6 business days prior to the start date are non-refundable.
Cancellation policy - Self-paced Courses
  • Cancellations are not permitted.

Note: If you do not cancel and do not attend and event or course, 100% of the fee must be paid.

Transfer policy - Events
  • All requests for transfers must be in writing
  • Substitute nominees may attend in your place where deemed appropriate; however, if a member wishes to substitute a non-member in their place the full fee will be payable.
Transfer policy - Scheduled Courses
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  • Your course registration can be transferred to another course without penalty if requested more than 10 business days prior to the course start date. Otherwise, the above cancellation policy applies. Transfers can only be requested when the course fee has been paid in full.
  • Transferring your registration to another person can be done at any time without penalty if nominee details are provided within a minimum of 2 business days prior to the course start date. Transferring from a member to a non-member will result in a fee increase in line with the non-member course fee.
Transfer policy - Self-paced Courses 
  • Transfers to another course are not allowed for self-paced courses.
We may in our discretion waive cancellation charges in exceptional circumstances, but we will not waive cancellation charges on account of work commitments.

Program Changes

IPAA NSW reserves the right to change programs/speakers/venue, or to cancel programs if the enrolment criteria are not met or when conditions beyond our control prevail. All registrants will be notified in the event of cancellation and their registration fee will be refunded.

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