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Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

Partnership to kick goals for young people

A high-profile site in the heart of Port Adelaide will be used for a new housing, employment and training project for young people funded by the Australian and South Australian Governments.

Federal , Tanya Plibersek will today join State Housing Minister Jennifer Rankine, Commissioner for Social Inclusion Monsignor David Cappo and AFL Players’ Association Chief Executive Officer Brendon Gale to announce the Ladder Foyer project.

Commissioner Cappo has been a tireless advocate for homeless people and welcomes this partnership, with the Social Inclusion Initiative providing recurrent funding for Ladder Foyer.

Based on the success of Foyer models in the United Kingdom and France, the project will provide 23 single self-contained apartments for young people to ensure they are not affected by homelessness.

A partnership has been formed with the Australian Football League (AFL), through its Players’ Association, to involve young people in employment and training opportunities.

In addition to providing housing for young, vulnerable people, Ladder Foyer will offer on-site 24 hour support, as well as mentoring services from past and present AFL players.

Ms Plibersek said Ladder Foyer is one of two South Australian projects from A Place to Call Home – a $150 million investment by the Rudd Government to deliver at least 600 new dwellings for individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

“This is an immediate response to the complex problem of homelessness – helping ensure people can get the support they need to break the cycle of homelessness and establish a stable home,” she said.

“A Place to Call Home is a down payment on the Rudd Government’s commitment to reducing homelessness.”

Ladder Foyer will begin with extensive renovations of its building at the Port Adelaide site. This funding will later provide a further 17 units for young families at risk, to be developed separately in stage two of the project.

Ms Rankine said that Ladder Foyer was an outstanding example of what could be achieved when Government worked with Non-Government Organisations, including local businesses and community groups.

“The success of this project can be attributed to all the working players – Federal, State and Local Government and the AFL’s’ Ladder program, all with a common goal to prevent young people falling into homelessness,” Ms Rankine said.

“The support programs attached to Ladder Foyer will not only provide quality accommodation, but both stabilise and rebuild the lives of young people, allowing them to develop their potential.”

The young residents staying at Ladder Foyer will be linked to broader opportunities, such as learning life skills, job training, employment opportunities and social, sporting and cultural activities.

Past and present AFL players and prominent female athletes will work with the young residents, who will draw on the experience, inspiration and motivation of players, gained from playing a professional sport.

AFL Chief Executive Officer, Mr Andrew Demetriou, said it was a great opportunity for Government, the AFL Foundation and AFL players to work collaboratively to address the issue of homelessness.

“The players and the AFL Foundation are committed to this project and to bringing greater awareness and resources to tackling homelessness,” he said.

Mr Gale was full of praise for the initiative and said the combined efforts of the AFL industry and Government was sure to make a difference to the lives of young people.

“We know that over 100,000 people are homeless every night in Australia, a statistic I still find staggering,” he said.

“AFL players are well aware of the privileged position they enjoy in our society and more than ever are keen to offer a helping hand to those in a less fortunate position than themselves. This initiative is yet another example of this.”

The Australian Government will provide $5.5m for the project with the State Government promising a $4m grant. Further funding has previously been announced for a Common Ground project at Port Augusta.