20 March 2015

Some councils are failing to support homeless young people in need according to new research released last week.

CSReportA report issued by the Children’s Society found that only half of homeless 16 and 17 year olds who asked councils’ for help received an assessment, despite a legal obligation to provide this. Only one in five of these young people are accommodated and often in an unsuitable setting, where the young people who may have already fled the family home to escape abuse can be at risk of sexual exploitation or other criminal activity.

Working in collaboration with its local councils, YMCA has helped vastly reduce young people in the Black Country being placed in unsuitable bed and breakfast accommodation, providing over 2000 nights of housing in the last 12 months.

“The selfless commitment of around 100 individuals, couples and families who open their homes to homeless young people across the Black Country is making a real difference to young lives. The training, support and partnership with all four Black Country Councils is providing a model for other areas of the country to follow” said CEO of YMCA Black Country Group, Steve Clay

YMCA Black Country Group provides supported lodgings to vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds through its Open Door scheme, which recruits the help of volunteer host families to offer their spare room to a homeless teenager. YMCA also offer a Family Mediation service in Wolverhampton which aims to rebuild family relationships to prevent the young person becoming homeless.

Simon, 16 from West Bromwich said, “Everybody was letting me down I had nowhere to go, then YMCA placed me with my Host family, Jill and Tony who didn’t judge me and just gave me a safe place to stay and someone to talk to.”

YMCA urgently needs more Hosts in the Black Country area, to provide both emergency Nightstop and longer-term accommodation.

YMCA Open Door runs preparation courses for potential new hosts across the Black Country. The courses are free of charge and are a good opportunity for anyone who is interested in the project to meet existing hosts and young people who have been helped and to find out more.

Anyone interested in attending a course or would like more information on YMCA Open Door should contact Rachael Taylor, Host Coordinator on 0121 524 1974 or email rachael.taylor@ymcabc.org.uk