Australia may be considered the lucky country to many but for 105,237 Australians this isn’t the case. One in 200 people are homeless in Australia on any given night when they sleep in the streets, struggling with fear and hunger.
Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to a standard of living - that includes housing. Yet here in the lucky country 17% of homeless people are under the age of 12 (17,845) and while the population of indigenous people only represents 3% of the Australian total, they represent 25% of those who are homeless with 26,744 indigenous people living on the streets.
Despite being largely ignored by the mainstream population, there are many inspirational NGOs who attempt to provide assistance for the homeless nationwide.
One such organisation is Father Chris Riley’s Youth off the Streets. While we often hear the terms “street kids” and “runaways” being used when referring to young homeless people the reality of it is much different.
Most young people experiencing homelessness are hidden from view and for the 42% of homeless people under the age of 24, domestic and family violence, as well as family breakdowns have played a large role in their situation. A number of structural factors also contribute to youth homelessness, including poverty, social inequality and youth unemployment.
In 2012, rugby league legend and NSW Blues warrior Brad Fittler said that as a father it made him feel sick that there were nearly 47,000 homeless young people under the age of 25 in Australia.
This prompted Freddy to contact Father Chris Riley and his Youth off the Streets team with the idea of creating a fundraising event to help a worthwhile cause. Freddy enlisted the help of some of his mates, fellow rugby league legends Ian Schubert and Nathan Hindmarsh to ride their Harley Davidson motorcycles throughout NSW to raise awareness and funds for the homeless youth of Australia.
With the support of Harley Davidson and the NSWRL they showed their true blue spirit and created Hogs for the Homeless.
You can also donate directly to Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets charity by clicking here.
Youth Off The Streets is a non-denominational community organisation working for young people who are homeless, drug dependent and recovering from abuse. We support these young people as they work to turn their lives around and overcome immense personal traumas such as neglect and physical, psychological and emotional abuse.
Since opening in 1991, Youth Off The Streets has grown from a single food van delivering meals to young homeless people on the streets of Kings Cross to a major youth specific agency offering a full continuum of care through delivery of a wide range of services.
There are 25 services including aboriginal programs, crisis accommodation, alcohol and drug services, counseling, accredited high schools, outreach, residential programs and a mentoring program. Volunteers support us every step of the way.
Youth Off The Streets is accredited as a Designated Agency for Out of Home care and maintains policies and procedures that comply with the benchmark standards as defined by the Office for Children the Children's Guardian.