21 June 2013

A report released today by Homeless Link and backed by homeless charities Centrepoint, YMCA England, St.Basil’s and Depaul UK indicates that many 16 and 17 year olds are not being properly housed or assessed by councils, potentially putting them at risk.

Of those given accommodation by councils, 8% were housed in B&Bs and 9% in shared accommodation with adults, which goes against statutory guidance on the issue.

YMCA Black Country Group run a Nightstop scheme which places homeless 16 and 17 year olds in the homes of approved volunteer Hosts keeping them off the street. The alternative would be for them to be placed in inappropriate Bed and Breakfast accommodation where they are at serious risk of falling into the trap of gangs, drugs, prostitution or being taken advantage of.

Last night, YMCA Black Country Group had 6 young people with Nightstop Hosts across the Black Country providing them with an evening meal, laundry facilities and basic toiletries as well as a safe and caring environment and the emotional support that they so desperately need.

The project which is funded through the Homelessness Transition fund is proving to be extremely effective in providing a first point of call for young people who have just been made homeless.

Pepe, a young person who is currently a YMCA Supported Lodgings resident said: “I really appreciated being welcomed into a home rather than staying in a B&B, which would have been very lonely and not very safe. The Nightstop host welcomed me in and supported me during the first few day of being homeless.”

Rachael Taylor who is the YMCA Host Coordinator and a Nightstop Host herself said: “Thanks to our caring hosts, young people in the Black Country have somewhere safe to go. The local Authorities across the Black Country have been very supportive of the scheme as they have recognised how essential it is for young people to have that extra support.”

We are urgently looking for more Hosts to join our team. Hosts receive full training, support and a generous allowance.

For more information about becoming a Host, please contact Rachael Taylor on 0121 524 1957 or email Rachael.taylor@wbymca.org.uk