Committee

The committee is made up of passionate and dedicated professionals who are committed to improving the lives of people in our community.

Peter Di Girolamo - Chairperson / Public Officer

Hunter Homeless Connect relies on the generosity of the volunteers and for committee member, Peter Di Girolamo, it is his responsibility to coordinate and recruit volunteers.

Peter has been a committee member since July 2010.  He was inspired to be involved with Hunter Homeless Connect following his experience providing emergency relief and care to people sleeping rough.

Peter’s motivation for helping the homeless is simply being able to put a smile on the faces of people who are experiencing difficult times.

Peter’s areas of expertise include change management, leadership, public speaking, and networking.  Peter is helping to establish an outreach program called "Our Backyard" which seeks to provide a place for people sleeping in their cars to access showers, food and other essential services.

Sally Regan - Vice Chairperson

Operations Manager – Hunter Partners in Recovery

Sally has spent the majority of her social work career in Victoria working in the areas of homelessness, refugees and offenders.   She spent over two years in Ireland managing programs for people with disabilities.  Despite a diverse range of settings, in all roles, Sally has maintained a strong interest in working with people with complex needs and hard to reach populations.  Sally recently returned to live in NSW and after a brief project role with Housing NSW took up the position of PIR Operations Manager with Hunter Medicare Local. Sally has a Bachelor of Social Work/Masters of Advanced Social Work.

Sally Hoyle - Treasurer

Sally retired from publishing and book distribution in 2006 and moved to Newcastle. She is currently in the PhD programme at the University of Newcastle, writing stories about her home town in England and her adopted home. She says “like many older people I want to give something back to my community, and voluntary work is a way to do that”.

Alyson Segrott - Secretary

Professional Officer - Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Alyson works with the Catholic Diocese in Pastoral Ministries which oversees outreach areas such as Chaplaincy (hospital, university, prison and port), Refugee Support Service, Social Justice Council and developing relationships with other faiths communities.

Alyson has a supported the Homeless Connect Day over the past two years, from attending these days has a greater understanding of the many people who are homeless or live in poor housing conditions. Alyson feels as a Christian there is a need to offer support to our brother and sisters, to help them in the struggles of everyday life and provide everyone with suitable housing. 

Alyson looks forward to working with Hunter Homeless Connect and that her strong administration and event management skills will further enhance how Hunter Homeless Connect can reach out and improve the lives of those experiencing issue in housing. 

Rudi Vitasz

Rudi is a Warrant Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force and joined the Board of Hunter Homeless Connect in February 2017. Rudi’s military career brings a unique blend of skills to the Board including strong leadership and management across many operational domains. Rudi became interested in supporting Hunter Homeless Connect after witnessing the many homeless living on the streets in and around Newcastle. Rudi’s Air Force career has armed him with many skills and afforded him many wonderful experiences and opportunities. He hopes that in his role with Hunter Homeless Connect he may become a role model to those who have fallen on hard times; help those who are homeless to regain their self-esteem and sense of purpose, and also increasing awareness and education within the broader community. Rudi says that it is imperative that the community highlight that homelessness is a major social issue for Australia and we must do all we can to help those in need. Rudi is also a staunch supporter and Ambassador of the White Ribbon campaign.

Jenn O'Sullivan

Executive Manager Path 2 Change

Having worked in the inner suburbs of Sydney in the NSW Police Force, Jenn became very aware of the complexities of the social needs of individuals who have been impacted by mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness and domestic violence.  Following the Police Force, many of her life experiences and employment opportunities working with disadvantaged people in the community, continued to prepare, strengthen, and shape her to be able to understand and relate to people who face inequalities and adversity.  

Jenn currently works in the Specialist Homelessness Sector and recognises the need for homeless people and the community to connect and respond to what is happening with others who share the same spaces.  Jenn is passionate about connecting people 365 days a year and believes that as a community, we cannot be passive in our response to homelessness, and hopes with access and opportunities, people will have a choice to change their direction and their lives.