No young person should sleep in an unsafe place
No young person should sleep in an unsafe place.
It’s a statement which rings so true in London as street homelessness in the capital has doubled over the last 5 years.
Run by Depaul UK, Nightstop London is an emergency accommodation service made possible thanks to the kindness of community volunteer hosts. The service is available to low-risk young people aged 16-25 who face homelessness owing to family and relationship breakdown.
Nightstop London provides an intervention at a critical point in young people’s lives, helping to prevent long-term entrenched homelessness and the associated negative health and wellbeing implications of prolonged rough sleeping, such as poor mental health, low self-esteem and little hope for the future.
The Nightstop story began back in 1985 when the Archbishop of Canterbury’s ‘Faith in the City’ reported highlighted the growing challenges of homelessness and called for a community response. Following this, Anglican and Catholic Church groups started to consider how they could be part of the solution. Just two years later, in 1987, the first Nightstop opened in Leeds.
There are currently 33 Nightstop hubs up and down the UK from Devon to Edinburgh. The programme runs very successfully in London where we currently have volunteer hosts in 24 of the 33 boroughs. In 2016 we gave 1,999 bed nights to 144 young people. But we want to do more so that we do not have to turn any young people away. Our focus for 2017 is to expand our reach to the City of London, Hillingdon, Harrow, Haringey, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Kingston Upon Thames.
The experience of one of our London Volunteer Hosts:
“Every family has its ups and downs, but until I started with Nightstop I hadn’t realised how hard life could be for some youngsters and how bad it can get when relationships fail. I think about what would happen to my Grandsons if they couldn’t stay at home. They have other members of the family to help them but some youngsters have no one. I love listening to young people and their plans for the future, because everyone has plans no matter what their situation.”