23 Nov 2016
AFL Players, GWS Giants, not for profit organisation Ladder and the NSW Government have partnered to tackle youth homelessness with new programs in Western Sydney.
Minister for Family and Community Services, Brad Hazzard, said young people who were leaving the out of home care system would get education and employment help and mentorship from the program. The NSW Government is funding Ladder Step Up Western Sydney with $1.3 million over the next two years.
“With 60 per cent of young people in care experiencing homelessness at some point in their lifetime we need to intervene early and get them on good paths to education, employment and stable housing,” Mr Hazzard said.
“We can’t do this alone and this new partnership is innovative and will affect real change in young people’s lives.”
Ladder, established by a group of AFL players in 2007 in a bid to empower young people to break the cycle of homelessness, is the official charity of AFL Players and a national partner of the AFL.
Ladder CEO Elisabeth Tuckey said the program was aimed at 17-20 year old care leavers who need assistance to find ongoing employment. Specific groups will be run for young mums and bubs and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.
“Youth homelessness is an issue that must be addressed by the community as a whole,” Ms Tuckey said.
“We are delighted to be working with the AFL Players, AFL and the GWS GIANTS to enhance the program and champion the role of sport as a social inclusion tool,” Ms Tuckey said.
The AFL Players CEO, Paul Marsh said: “Sport has an important role to play in driving inclusion and addressing social change, and AFL players have a strong history of making a difference in the community.”
GWS GIANTS Head of Community, Ali Faraj said: “Our involvement in Ladder Step Up Western Sydney will continue to build on the community connections the GIANTS have forged throughout the region.”
AFL NSW/ACT CEO and Ladder Board Director, Sam Graham said: “We thank the NSW Government for their support of Ladder in reaching out to young people at risk – we know we can make a real difference.”