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National partner profile: Austria

Participants

Men and women, 16 years or older, who are homeless, or have been homeless in the past year, street vendors, asylum seekers, refugees, those undergoing alcohol or drug rehabilitation or those who have done so in the past two years.

Locations

All over Austria

Initiative Goal

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Initiative Goal work in partnership with organisations across Austria to build a network of social street football projects. Their aim is to promote social inclusion through sport.

They offer support for people who are experiencing homelessness, or have done so in the past year. They also reach out for street vendors, asylum seekers, refugees and people affected by substance abuse.

The national ambassador of Team Austria is former Austrian national player, Markus Schopp, who works as the team’s mentor and helps them raise funds to be able to attend the Homeless World Cup.

By working in collaboration with Caritas (a large social welfare organisation), Initiative Goal are able to offer support for their participants and refer them to expert advisors.

Initiative Goal do not run their own football sessions, but cooperate with a network of partners who run weekly sessions in different cities. In partnership with organisations across Austria, they run regional tournaments where the top players are then selected to represent Austria in the Homeless World Cup.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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Initiative Goal aim to help marginalised people through sport. By facing challenges on the pitch, participants develop self-confidence, strength and pride in their abilities.

After completing the programme, the skills gained help participants improve in all other aspects of their lives.

Goals for the future

Tournaments

To improve the coordination of national tournaments and to develop a tournament series

Partnerships

To add new local partners to their national network and to continue the good relationship with sponsors

Capacity Expansion

To strengthen existing street football projects, reach more potential players, and expand all over Austria

Additional information

Partner since

2003

Football Activities

Initiative Goal do not run their own sessions but cooperate with a network of partners who run weekly sessions in different cities. They organise tournaments and support their partners in organising them as well.

Team selection

The top players in their regional tournaments are then selected to represent Austria in the Homeless World Cup.

Non-football services

Initiative Goal take into account each players situation and refer them to corresponding services. As they work closely with Caritas (a large social welfare organisation) and a range of other organisations, they are usually able to refer the player to an expert quickly.

Participants challenges

Substance abuse, unemployment, social exclusion, and illegal immigration

Country challenges

In 2013, 18.8% of the population were considered at risk of poverty or social exclusion (Statistics Austria, 2013). Costs of living and housing are increasing much faster than wages and therefore subsidies for accommodation are gradually becoming insufficient. (FEANTSA, 2014).

Homlessness definition

There are four categories of homelessness. Firstly, houseless people include rough sleepers and people sleeping in emergency accommodation. Secondly, homeless people are inhabitants of women’s shelters or accommodation for asylum seekers or other migrants. Thirdly, people in precarious housing condition are those living in insecure, informal arrangements with friends or relatives, or are in danger of losing their homes. Fourthly, people in inadequate housing conditions refers to people living in caravans or squats or people in overpopulated accommodation. (Fonds Soziales Wien, 2015)

Homelessness Statistics

On the local level, the total number of homeless services users in 2009 in Vienna alone was 3,907. Numbers of services users have increased in Vienna and Salzburg over the past 15 years, but remained stable in Lower Austria (FEANTSA Country Fiche, 2014).

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