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How Football Is Striving To Combat Homelessness Around The Globe

The Homeless World Cup finished up on Saturday, Mexico won both the men's and women's finals in the charity tournament, empowering thousands of homeless individuals throughout the process.

The Homeless World Cup, which took place in Glasgow this year, finished up on Saturday. Mexico won both the men's final and the women's final, as the men coasted by Brazil 6-1 while the women beat Kyrgyzstan 5-0. 

At this point, you might be asking yourself: "Wait. What's a Homeless World Cup?" Allow us to enlighten you. 

In 2005, the United Nations conducted a survey on the state of homelessness across the globe. The conclusions they reached stated that approximately 100 million people were homeless, while 1.6 billion lacked adequate housing. The Homeless World Cup aims to change that. 

Homeless World Cup

Photo: @ExselGroup | Twitter

The organization started when founders Mel Young and Harald Schmied were having a beer in Cape Town, South Africa. The two men were attending the annual conference of the International Network of Street Papers (papers sold by homeless or poor individuals in order to support the population and increase awareness of homeless issues). 

Homeless World Cup

Homeless World Cup founder, Mel Young. Photo: @Sans_A | Twitter

"When Harald and I started talking we agreed that it had been a great conference but we were concerned that there were no homeless people there – only editors, founders, or directors. How could we involve homeless people in the same international inspiration which we were experiencing?" said Young. 

"We came up with various ideas, but they always had barriers like visa issues or employment challenges or language problems. We kept throwing ideas around. There was an international language called football, we concluded. We both loved football, and we knew the potential power it had to involve people."

 

So, the two men set out to start the first Homeless World Cup, and 15 years later, it's still going strong.  

The annual tournament is only a small part of the operation however. The organization has over 70 global partners who work on the ground to deliver football programs and build social networks. 

According to the official site of the Homeless World Cup, 94% of people who took part said that the tournament positively impacted their lives, 83% said that it improved social relations with family and friends, 77% changed their lives significantly, and 71% continue to play. 

If you'd like to learn more about the Homeless World Cup, or would like to learn how you can get involved, visit homelessworldcup.org

Follow me on Twitter @J_Hansen_89

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