The Homeless World Cup uses the power of football to energise homeless people so they can change their own lives.
It supports grass-roots football programmes and social enterprise development via a network of 70 national partners and celebrates its work by organising an annual football tournament that unites teams of homeless people from countries all around the globe.
The Homeless World Cup was founded by Mel Young from Scotland and Harald Schmied from Austria, who came up with the idea at a conference on homelessness, in Cape Town in 2001. They both believed that it was possible to “change the lives of homeless people through football” and two years later in 2003, the first Homeless World Cup tournament took place in Graz in Austria.
Today, the main role of the organisation is to coordinate the work of its 70 national partners by providing support and guidance in football and management skills, to help grow and develop sustainable programmes which have a positive impact on the lives of homeless and excluded people all around the world.
At the annual Homeless World Cup tournament, the national partners come together to demonstrate how football has the power to change people's lives. The tournament also celebrates the year-round work of the organisation and creates an opportunity for players to represent their country and meet and build relationships with homeless people from other countries. It also lights up the hearts and minds of everyone it touches and changes people's attitudes to homelessness – in all cities where the tournament is held, people who are homeless report improved relations with the public.