Irish Homeless Street leagues was officially set up as a Street League, an independent non profit entity in 2004. Its origins go back to 2003, when Sean Kavanagh Manager of Ireland's Big Issue Magazine brought a team of homeless lads to the inaugural Homeless World Cup in Austria. Seeing first hand the benefits that could be accrued from participation in sport (both social & physical) he decided that rather than build lads up for a once a year tournament, having something that they could participate in all year round would be of greater benefit.
Together with Dublin City Council a pilot project was set up in 2004 in the inner city.
This proved very successful and as a result in 2005 the league was expanded to cover the greater Dublin area, also that year the League became affiliated to the Football Association of Ireland in their 'Football for All' category.
Various tournaments are held throughout the year culminating with All Ireland Tournament that brings teams from both North and South to participate in a one-day event, over 300 players take part. From this tournament a panel of players are selected from which the Team to represent Ireland in the Homeless World Cup is chosen.
Irish Homeless Street leagues uses the power of sport to transform the lives of individuals from underprivileged, poorly educated, socially excluded and conflicting communities. We look to engage both male and female players, usually between the ages of 16 and 40 years, who are traditionally excluded from mainstream activities.
Our primary target groups are:
To build self-esteem, self-confidence and self discipline, empowering people so as to enable individuals to take responsibility for their own futures with confidence.
To empower people with the basic social tools necessary to enable these goals.
Participation in team sport is the catalyts that enables us to achieve these goals.
Many people who have engaged with us have moved on with their lives, some have re-engaged with their families, secured gainful employment, addressed addiction issues, gone back to full-time education, become graduates and gone on to become mentors within their own communities.
Nobody is claiming a magic solution or a 100% success rate, but even if we had just one success, think of the effect that has on that person, their family, friends, community and society at large, it's a ripple effect that benefits all.
There are no losers.