Release type: Joint Media Release


Helping homeless remove barriers to employment


The Hon Kate Ellis MP
Minister for Employment Participation
Minister for Child Care

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Minister For Social Inclusion

Minister for Employment Participation and Child Care Kate Ellis today announced $500,000 for the Big Issue Community Street Soccer Program, which will assist up to 600 disadvantaged job seekers to gain the skills and confidence they need to find work.

“As the nation heads towards a projected unemployment rate of 4.5 per cent, we are faced with a unique chance to transform the lives of Australians who have been unemployed for a long period,” Ms Ellis said.

“The Street Soccer program has a proven track record of helping disadvantaged Australians to engage with mainstream society and give them the support and confidence they need to get a decent job.

“This program will assist some of our most disadvantaged job seekers in 25 communities across Australia, by providing assistance for them to overcome the barriers they face to employment, including homelessness.”

“This funding will assist a total of 600 participants with multiple disadvantages into 120 jobs, 600 mentoring opportunities, 60 work experience placements and 60 training places.”

The street soccer program gives job seekers access to a range of activities, including attending a weekly training session where a dedicated soccer coach encourages players to improve their fitness, while linking the job seeker to the appropriate support services.

The support services include peer support, mentoring, building social networks, and developing pre-vocational skills to encourage good employment outcomes.

The program, delivered by Hanover Welfare Services in partnership with The Big Issue, is based on a pilot that trialled an integrated approach to address barriers to employment for job seekers most at risk.

Minister for Social Inclusion, Tanya Plibersek said that the Street Soccer program aims to help people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“Street Soccer has a strong track record of reaching out to homeless people and connecting them with one another, and connecting them with services that can help them with their homelessness,” said Ms Plibersek.

Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness and Minister for Sport, Mark Arbib said that the Government was eager to harness the benefits of sport to achieve positive change in other aspects of community life.

“A study by La Trobe University found the Community Street Soccer Program produced real outcomes for participants including reduced symptoms in those experiencing mental illness, reductions in smoking, drug and alcohol abuse and improved housing,” Senator Arbib said.

The key findings included:

  • 67 per cent of participants reported that Street Soccer provided relief for their mental illness symptoms;
  • 56 per cent reported increased self-esteem ;
  • 20 per cent reported quitting smoking and 80 per cent had reduced their smoking;
  • 25 per cent reported improved health awareness including better diet and fitness; and
  • 15 per cent reported having improved housing situations.

“Sport can make a real difference to the lives of people who are homeless and disadvantaged, helping them reconnect with the community,” Senator Arbib said.

“I am delighted the Government is able to provide more funding for this fantastic program, which helps so many people experiencing homelessness in our community.

“A key part of addressing homelessness is providing for employment and education options and I commend the Big Issue for the important support they provide.”

The funding was part of the third round of the $41 million Innovation Fund program, which aims to address the needs of the most disadvantaged job seekers through projects that foster innovative solutions to employment barriers.

For more information on the Innovation Fund, visit: