Media Release by Senator the Hon Mark Arbib

Street soccer program kicks a goal for homelessness

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator Carol Brown, Senator for Tasmania

Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Mark Arbib and Senator for Tasmania Carol Brown today took to the soccer field in Hobart today to raise awareness of The Big Issue’s Community Street Soccer Program.

Senator Arbib said the soccer program provided weekly football training to homeless and marginalised people in 25 communities across the country.

“The Street Soccer program is a great initiative that uses the power of sport to reconnect people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and provide them with a boost to their self-confidence as well as a sense of community,” Senator Arbib said.

“The Street Soccer program in Hobart, which was launched in February 2010, has given participants the support and tools necessary to help themselves make positive change.

“Many of those taking part in Street Soccer have a mental illness, substance abuse problem or are young people at risk of homelessness. This program not only provides them a physical outlet but also assistance in accessing services for employment, housing and health.

“I am particularly pleased to have the chance to meet Cindy Chatters who represented Australia in the Homeless World Cup in Paris in August.”

Ms Chatters only joined the Hobart program 18 months before the World Cup and was the only female to be included in the Australian team.

She said the program had given her new-found confidence and motivation and she hopes other women will get involved.

Senator Carol Brown said the Government and the community sector were working together to help end the cycle of homelessness.

“There are an estimated 105,000 Australians who are homeless on any one night and one of the most effective ways to help someone who is experiencing homelessness is to help to support their employment,” Senator Carol Brown said.

“That is why the Australian Government has long supported The Big Issue in raising awareness and support for people who are homeless and those at risk of homelessness.

“Since 2007 the Government has provided $4.4 million to the Street Soccer program.

“The Government is committed to investing in programs that help the thousands of Australians without a roof over their head.

“Since 2008 we have provided almost $5 billion in new funding in support services and housing to assist people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.”