Left to right: Izzy Huntington and Hope Street CEO, Donna Bennett.

Isabel Huntington is best known as an Australian Rules Footballer playing for the Western Bulldogs in the AFLW.

Drafted with pick one by the Bulldogs in the 2017 national draft, Izzy’s athletic talent was identified from such a young age. In 2020 Izzy was named the AFLW Rising Star, winning the Western Bulldogs Best & Fairest and being named as an All Australian. But there is so much more to Izzy than her outstanding athletic talent.

Izzy is a respected member of the Bulldog’s leadership group, an opportunity she has earned through interactions with her peers. Off the field, Izzy is just as driven as she is on it, advancing her studies with plans for a future career in medicine.

Away from the field and her studies, Izzy represents her community with enthusiasm and has embraced an Ambassadorship with Hope Street Youth and Family Services, one of the longest established specialist youth homelessness services in Victoria. Izzy is committed to contributing to this leading organisation to achieve its vision for a society in which all young people and young families have a safe place to call home.

CEO, Donna Bennett, shared "We are thrilled to welcome Izzy to Hope Street as Izzy represents what we as an organisation and community aim to achieve for all young people – being provided with the opportunity, resources and support to complete their education, work towards a career of their choice, be involved in sport and other activities that will connect them to their local community as they strive to achieve their life goals."

Donna noted, "I have no doubt young women will be inspired by Izzy as they will see a young woman who is going for what she wants in life and achieving this." Donna continued, "It has taken decades for the AFL to open its doors to women as professional players therefore Izzy also represents the importance of never letting go of a dream, persistence, and what can be achieved when the community joins together."

Ms Bennett added, "Ending youth homelessness takes a community effort and Hope Street is proud to be in partnership with the City of Melton through providing an industry leading service model designed to respond to youth homelessness via a placed-based approach that assists young people including children.  Hope Street is also proud to be in partnership with the City of Whittlesea with our shovel ready proposal for a new supported crisis accommodation centre that we are looking to the State government to fund so that each year we can assist 220 young people including children find their pathway out of long-term homelessness and disadvantage."

When asked about her ambassadorial duties Izzy noted, "Being involved in the AFLW has been an incredible experience. The league has had an amazing impact for society in general, and for the advancement of social causes. AFLW has opened up so many opportunities for so many women, and I can’t wait for the game to continue to grow. There are so many social causes that my role as an AFLW footballer enables me to support, including the meaningful work of Hope Street Youth and Family Services who provide holistic services to vulnerable young people experiencing (or at risk of experiencing) homelessness."

For interview and photo opportunities, please contact Donna Bennett, CEO, at .

To learn more about youth homelessness and young people's lived experiences of homelessness, please see I Am A Young Person.

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Hope to Home in Whittlesea

FEATURED PILOT PROGRAM: Hope to Home in Whittlesea

Many young people face obstacles when trying to secure stable accommodation due to no rental history, lack of affordable housing, and no employment to sustain rental leases.  The Hope to Home in Whittlesea pilot program will address these issues by:

  • Facilitating the transition of up to 30 young people (and their children) from the Hope Street in Whittlesea program or Whittlesea Housing into 1 and 2 bedroom units
  • Providing case management once they secure private rental of these units
  • Helping these young people maintain their tenancy, employment, education and training, and community connections
  • Engaging the support of community stakeholders including local businesses to address barriers contributing to youth homelessness

Please contact us if you would like to become a partner and support at risk young people and young families.

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