We currently have affordable rental housing in the Sydney Metro, Central Coast and Hunter regions.
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WelcomeMat

About Us

WelcomeMat is a tenant-matching portal for affordable rental housing.

The WelcomeMat platform has been designed to provide both a more accessible and equitable system for those seeking affordable rental housing, and to deliver efficiencies and cost savings for housing providers.

WelcomeMat was co-founded by Churches Housing – the peak body for faith based affordable and community housing providers in NSW – and a social impact investor. Additional investment has also been contributed by Churches of Christ in NSW (Fresh Hope).

We have a highly experienced board and management team. The team’s diverse expertise covers housing and social services, government, technology design and delivery, law, online portal communications and marketing. Most importantly, our team is united by a passion to make a difference in the affordable rental housing space and reduce housing stress for many Australians.

 

Board of Directors

Mark Khoo

Co-Founder and CEO

Mark is our Co-Founder with a passion for helping people access affordable housing. He is a  senior legal practitioner with more than 17 years’ experience and began the design and development of  WelcomeMat in 2018.  Previously, he spent 6 years as a Partner at Salvos Legal, an award-winning social enterprise law firm wholly owned by The Salvation Army, and was the  inaugural Practice Group Leader of the firm’s Commercial & Property team.  He also worked at several top tier law firms and early in his career was the Associate to Justice Murray Wilcox AO of the Federal Court of Australia.

Mark is a Board Member of Churches Housing Inc, Fellow of the Australian Property Institute (FAPI) through its Property Leaders Program and Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).  He was also a Member of the Law Society of NSW’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee for 3 years.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Laws (1st Class Honours) from University of Technology, Sydney.

Carol Croce

Director

Carol has over 46 years’ experience in the not-for-profit community sector in Australia and the United States, nearly half of which were in executive management positions. She has 19 years’ experience working in the Australian housing sector and is a recognised and respected expert in this field.

She was the Executive Director of the Community Housing Federation of Australia (CHFA), the national industry body representing community housing providers nationwide which has transitioned into the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA).

Carol is now the Director of her own consulting business, Carol Croce Consulting. Her clients include the National Affordable Housing Providers Limited (NAHPL), the national industry body representing NRAS providers.

Carol holds a Bachelor in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Christopher Harwood

Director

Chris is a technology leader with over 20 years of experience across not for profit, health, marketing, entertainment, loyalty and retail. Chris has led digital product development and service delivery functions in a number of executive and senior management roles across Asia Pacific.
 
As Executive Director, Service Design and Delivery at Lifeline Australia, Chris oversees the delivery of all national crisis support services including responsibility for the Technology, Clinical, Operations, and Learning and Development groups.
 
With a firm belief that consumer-centred design is the best approach for providing an effective service, Chris enjoys bringing his product and service design experience to the Welcomemat team.
 
Chris holds a Masters of Business and Technology Management degree from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Daniel Dwyer

Director

Dan is the Chief Executive Officer of Fresh Hope (Churches of Christ Community Care). In this role he oversees the profit for purpose arm of Fresh Hope operating in residential aged care, retirement living, community housing, outdoor education and training and community engagement. It is by virtue of his work in this current role that Dan has developed a strong desire to champion access to affordable housing (particularly in NSW).
 
Prior to working for Fresh Hope, Dan has worked in the property sector for a number of private companies (working as General Manager, General Counsel and Group Company Secretary). Dan has worked for the law firm Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills) and held senior roles with both federal government agencies and NSW state government departments.
 
Dan has previously served as both a Director and Chair of Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopters, Director of Network Kokoda, Director of Australian College of Ministries. He is a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia (FGIA) and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD).
  
He holds a Masters of Laws (International Business and Economics) from UNSW, a Masters of Emergency Management from CSU, Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of IT (Data Communications) from UWS.

Mike Furner

Director

Mike joined BaptistCare in 2001 to head up the newly created Aged and Community Care Operations Division and has held General Manager level roles within the Aged Care operational structures, managing residential and community care and retirement villages.

For four years he took on the broader role as General Manager for Strategic Development for the whole Organisation which ultimately led to the establishment of community housing within BaptistCare. 

Mike is now General Manager for the Housing and Retirement Living Division. He is also a Board Member of Churches Housing Inc. Prior to joining BaptistCare Mike had 20 years’ senior management experience in the community development, health, rehabilitation and aged care fields in NSW, the Northern Territory and Tasmania. 

Social justice issues are an important part of Mike’s life. This, combined with his qualifications in human services management, has led to many opportunities to pursue these social development interests and use of his business management skills.

Mike holds a Graduate Diploma in Human Services Management from Charles Sturt University, and Graduate Certificate in Management from Griffith University.
 

Paul Simos

Director

Paul has 20 years’ experience holding senior management roles in public & private companies in Australia and the USA, providing strategy, corporate advisory and legal services.  He has also held senior roles at corporate advisory firms advising early stage digital businesses, focusing on the proptech, healthtech and renewable energy sectors.

He was the Head of Strategy at REA Group, the operator of realestate.com.au, from 2012 until 2016 and previously Vice President of Strategy & Corporate Development at Move Inc, operator of Realtor.com, the #2 property website in the USA.

Paul practised corporate law for eight years, starting his career at Blakes (now Ashurst) in Sydney before working in the USA for global law firm Skadden Arps.

Paul holds a Master of Laws degree from King's College, University of London and a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney.

Scott Griffiths

Director

Scott is currently the Chief Financial Officer for Fresh Hope (Churches of Christ in NSW), a faith-based not-for-profit provider of aged care, community services and affordable housing accommodation throughout NSW. He is a qualified CPA having previously served as a finance specialist and executive in the aged care industry over the past 15 years. He has worked for some of the largest not-for-profit aged care providers in Australia, both in an employed role and on a consultancy basis having established his own consultancy business in 2010. Scott gained valuable training and formal qualifications in his accounting degree as an intern at Stewart, Brown & Co Charted Accountants, who are specialists in providing advisory and auditing services to a broad range of NFP and Aged Care providers.
 
Scott is a full member of CPA Australia, a member of the Australian Institute Company of  Directors (AICD) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Accounting from the University of Western Sydney.

Philippa Yelland

Company Secretary

Philippa joined Churches Housing, the peak body for faith based affordable and community housing providers in NSW, in January 2018 and has deep experience in journalism, publishing and research. She was previously communications and marketing manager for a large, Sydney- based public company that specialised in financial services.

Having trained in journalism, Philippa has experience as a managing editor and company secretary at publishing companies that have produced a variety of  publications.

From practical experience, she knows that housing security, peacefulness and affordability are crucial for all people if they are to live good and satisfying lives.

Philippa has a Bachelor of Arts from Griffith University.

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