24 January 2018
The Hellenic Initiative Australia today announced a new partnership with Emfasis Foundation to support pioneering social street work programs assisting the homeless and vulnerable groups in Athens.
The Hellenic Initiative Australia’s AU$35,000 grant will fund the Mobile Support Unit (MSU) Program for 12 months, enabling Emfasis to expand its outreach services supporting the needs of people living on the street, on the verge of homelessness or facing serious survival challenges and social exclusion.
Unlike conventional support services that rely on people reaching out to them for assistance, Emfasis sends its Mobile Support Units to neighbourhoods in Athens and Piraeus where homeless and vulnerable groups are living rough. Led by trained Social Street workers and volunteers, MSU units address people’s immediate needs by distributing food and survival kits and also provide a critical link to social support services.
Emfasis conducts detailed demographic mapping of underprivileged areas and populations, in order to identify the exact needs and profile of the vulnerable population, including rough sleepers, families facing unemployment, mental health issues living below the poverty line, youth suffering addiction and “street” children.
Emfasis works with the local community, including social workers, sociologists, psychologists and other specialists and trained volunteers to improve the personal and living conditions of those in need. Their holistic approach aims to empower people to reintegrate and access social services and medical care, from helping them re-establish ID card or social insurance benefits, to accompanying them to medical and other follow-up and support services.
During a visit to Athens in January, THI Australia President Nicholas Pappas met with the Mobile Support Unit and also met Dubai-based Emfasis founding member, Maria Karra.
“THI Australia is proud to be supporting the Emfasis Foundation’s groundbreaking social street work programs, which are assisting those most vulnerable andaffected by the deep socio-economic crisis in Greece, said THI Australia President Nicholas Pappas. “This grant represents an exciting new partnership and we are pleased to be working with the inspirational and dedicated team at Emfasis,” he said.
The Emfasis Foundation partnership is the first new grant announced from proceeds raised during The Hellenic Initiative Australia’s One Greece 2017 campaign. The Hellenic Initiative Australia has committed more than $500,000 to its Crisis Relief Program over the next three years.
“THI Australia’s support will play a pivotal role in enhancing the resources dedicated to both our Mobile Units in Athens and Piraeus, enabling us to reach out to more people in need of support, hope and a better future,” said Ms Karra.