Read Naima’s account of how YMCA helped her as a teenager, experiencing family breakdown, and now as a YMCA Supported Lodgings Host. She is also helping others.
I have been a Supported Lodgings Host with the YMCA for 2 years. The person who has been staying with our family is now about to be moving into his own home to live independently.
YMCA has played a big part within my own life as when I was a teenager, I found myself in a situation without a home. The YMCA helped me to have a positive start in life, which is why I very much want to help young people who have found themselves homeless. When I started as Host, the YMCA were really supportive and the Support Worker was very understandable and reassuring so I was confident and excited to embark on this new journey being able to help in any way I could.
When Luke came to live with me two years ago, he had no living skills what so ever. I have loved and enjoyed teaching him and showing him how to cook, clean, do his laundry and how to manage his money. He is very receptive to learning something new.
I enjoyed getting to know him and felt honoured when he felt confident enough to have deep conversations with me as to why he had a breakdown with his family.
I’m happy with the relationship he and my son have, they play football and online games together which I find hilarious with them shouting at each other in different rooms. My son is very laid back, he understands what we are doing and is willing to help ensure any young person’s coming into our home are comfortable enough so that they feel that our home is their home.
The young person has been with us for two years. How he has developed is remarkable. He seems so much more confident and relaxed. He’s finished college with the pursuit of obtaining an apprenticeship in plumbing in September. He will be ready to move into his own home very soon and I believe he will be just fine on his own. He has been so respectful all the way through even when I’ve nagged at him for not clearing up or putting things back where he’s found them but apart from that I have been happy to have him, hope I have more like him.
For people who are interested in becoming a Host, this could be one of the most fulfilling things that you do. Yes, there will be challenges, some big, some small, but when you see how much you can help a young person achieve, it is very rewarding.
These young people needs us, they may think they don’t but they need our help.
I have enjoyed being a host, I have no regrets and I look forward continuing to be here to give any young persons a home.”
It was an equally positive story for Luke:
It was a scary thought, moving into somebody else’s house at 16. I didn’t know how strict the Host would be, but Naima was the best, I couldn’t have asked for more. She made me feel comfortable, instantly I felt at home. This really boosted my confidence.
When I moved in, I was not familiar with shopping, cooking, cleaning, now confidently I can say that I can do it myself, I have grown up taken and taken responsibility for myself. With all the skills that I have gained, I would like someone else to have that opportunity.