Brokers can help turn lives around
AFG is committed to helping homeless youths, partnering with a national charity that provides practical resources to help young people transition towards independence.
The Foyer Foundation provides integrated learning and accommodation settings for young people aged 16 to 24, who are either at risk or experiencing homelessness. The partnership recognises the role that aggregator AFG and brokers play in helping Australians achieve the goal of homeownership.
AFG has committed $600,000 to the foundation over the next three years. As part of the sponsorship, the company has established the AFG Independence Fund, providing small grants to fund a range of resources to residents of Foyers throughout Australia, such as study materials, laptops, equipment, clothing and driving lessons.
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Over the last year, more than 140 vulnerable young Australians have received a gift, each worth up to $1000, AFG said.
Brokers are urged to extend their support, which can be in the form of a tax-deductible donation, 100% of which goes to the AFG Independence Fund. Alternatively, brokers can provide non-financial support, providing mentorship at one of the 13 Foyers locations, offer part-time work to a Foyers resident, or host financial education seminars to a broader group, AFG said.
AFG head of sales and distribution Chris Slater (pictured above) said it was important for young people to have the right resources to pursue education or work, which were often not easy to access without the right support.
“AFG is therefore proud to be able to be able to make these resources a reality for those who need them, giving them a much boost in their study or careers,” Slater said. “We urge brokers who are looking to give back to the community to join us in making a meaningful difference.”
The most recent round of the fund attracted 57 applicants, each of whom received funds as part of a total fund pool of $18,500 available for distribution, AFG said. Gifts included 13 laptops/course fees, 16 driving lesson packages, tools, work uniforms and gym subsidies to support health.
For those transitioning to full independence, some applications were used for household and kitchen goods, necessary for residents as they move out of the Foyer and into their own private rental.
“We operate in an industry where access to safe and secure housing seems the norm. But that is not always the case, and we have a responsibility to help remove some of the obstacles for those young people who may be facing disadvantage,” Slater said.
Speaking to MPA about AFG’s reasons for supporting Foyer Foundation, Slater said the aggregator wanted to give back to the community in a meaningful way. A range of opportunities were evaluated, before deciding to support youth homelessness.
As a mortgage aggregator that worked with brokers to help people achieve their dream of home ownership, there was a strong link there, Slater said. But he acknowledged that the other side of the coin was that some people did not have a secure home at all.
According to Mission Australia, on any given night, there are 116,000 people experiencing homelessness. Young people aged between 15 and 24 make up around 21% of that figure, Slater said.
“Without having a secure roof over your head, it is difficult to pursue education and employment pathways, and so the cycle continues,” Slater said.
Slater said the Foyer Foundation model helped to reduce the headwind of homelessness for affected young people by enabling them to pursue study and employment pathways based on access to secure accommodation.
As a strong advocate for AFG’s work in taking positive steps to help to reduce the number of homeless young people, Slater participated in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout in June, raising around $17,000.
Foyer Foundation CEO Liz Cameron-Smith said the gifts were a small contribution yet had a big impact on the lives of young people transitioning to independence.
“Students need course fees covered and laptops to support study, apprentices need tools and safety clothing, and many need everyday items like bedding and household appliances to set themselves up for an independent life,” Cameron-Smith said.
Slater said brokers choosing to support the Foyer Foundation by donating to the AFG Independence Fund can publicise their support.
Foyer Foundation recipients apply specifically for what they need through a grant process. As a guide, a donation of $250 would provide a work uniform and tools, $450 would provide driving lessons and $650 would be sufficient for a laptop for educational support.
With over 500 residents currently in Foyers throughout Australia, there was plenty of scope for the industry to make a difference, Slater said.
Brokers could make a donation to the AFG Independence Fund directly.
In addition to working with the Foyer Foundation, AFG was recently recognised for its learning and development platform, as part of its commitment to providing training and professional development to the broker network.
In November, the aggregator won the Best Customer Training category at the SAP Litmos Lenny Awards 2022 – the second year of winning the award. The Lenny Awards recognise and showcase innovative and inspiring examples of businesses that use the SAP Litmos learning management system.