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Media Release by Senator the Hon Mark Arbib

Government provides funding to help Ladder program mentor young homeless

Vulnerable young people in Victoria and South Australia who are benefitting from the AFL player-run Ladder project will now have the support of two coordinators funded by the Australian Government.

Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Mark Arbib today announced the Australian Government would provide $480,000 over two years for coordinators at Ladder’s Port Adelaide and Melbourne facilities.

The Minister, who is an ambassador for Ladder, announced the funding at the AFL Legends Luncheon in Melbourne during National Homeless Persons Week.

Ladder, a joint initiative of the AFL Players Association and the AFL Foundation, provides housing and life skills to young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and provides them with support from AFL footballers and elite female athletes.

Ladder accommodates 12 young people at its centre in Melbourne and 23 young people in Adelaide.

“Homelessness is something everyone in the community can help end and I strongly congratulate the AFL players, AFL Players’ Association and the AFL for investing in the future of young people experiencing homelessness,” Senator Arbib said.

“Ladder helps young people break the cycle of homelessness by providing supported accommodation and tailored solutions that develop life skills and community connections to build a pathway to independence.

“Coordinators will play an essential role helping organise and attract elite sportspeople to mentor and break down barriers between services for the young people living at Ladder.

“Ladder engages young people in education, training or employment, which is absolutely critical. One of the best ways to end homelessness and set young people on a brighter future is by providing a job or a pathway to a job.

“The projects taking place under Ladder are an important example of collaboration between government, business and communities to reduce youth homelessness across Australia.”

Senator Arbib said that on any given night more than 32,000 people aged 12 to 24 across Australia are homeless, representing about a third of all homeless people in this country.

“The Australian Government is working towards two ambitious goals for 2020: to halve the rate of homelessness and provide accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it,” Senator Arbib said.

“We have also committed to reducing the number of young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, especially those leaving statutory or custodial care.

“Since 2008, the Australian Government has invested around $5 billion in additional funding to better address homelessness, including building thousands of homes for those who are homeless and strongly boosting services.

“Around Australia, 43 new or expanded initiatives are being delivered to better support young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness including five initiatives in Victoria and seven in South Australia.

“Youth homelessness is unacceptable and as a community we all have a responsibility to help end it.

“With the right support, we can make a real difference to the lives of young people, who have so much potential and opportunities ahead of them.

“Ladder is just one of the many programs supported by the Australian Government that are giving young people facing homelessness a brighter future.”