Father Chris Riley, CEO and founder at Youth Off The Streets, supports anti-poverty week. The week runs from 16 October to 22 October and all Australians are asked to raise awareness for those struggling to make ends meet across the country.
“So many Australians are living below the poverty line. This isn’t an issue just for the third world, it’s happening right here in Australia. I’ve been working with disadvantaged young people for over 43 years and I’m constantly trying to bring attention to this issue. The cycle of poverty must be broken,” he said.
“The key to breaking the cycle of poverty is education. Youth Off The Streets has three independent schools that help young people who aren’t suited to the mainstream system. Not every young person is suited to learning with 30 others in a classroom. Our schools adapt to the needs of individual young people and as a result we see them make a lot of progress throughout the year. Our schools give them a chance at further education and employment training opportunities.”
Key stats for anti-poverty week:
- 44,000 young people are homeless every night in Australia (ABS, 2013)
- 1 in 5 young people aged from 15 to 19 drop out of education and are unemployed
- 2 million families in Australia live below the poverty line
- Youth unemployment represents close to 40% of all unemployment
- 600,000 kids often go to school without breakfast or lunch and suffer social isolation