Homeless young people offered a place to stay as charity expands into Cumbria

6th July 2016

An innovative new project to tackle homelessness was established in Cumbria last year with support from Cumbria Community Foundation.

Nightstop, run by Depaul UK provides free emergency accommodation for homeless young people aged 16 to 25, in the homes of approved volunteers, on a temporary basis until a more appropriate longer term solution to their housing problems can be found.

The project received £7,000 from Foundation Grants, CN Fund and Fryer Grassroots Fund to employ a project manager to recruit and train volunteer hosts, as well as raise awareness across the county.

With the support of multiple agencies, service users can re-engage with family members and look to access longer term accommodation. Volunteers also benefit from the experience of hosting young people and learning more about their lives.

Over ten households are currently offering accommodation across Cumbria with more in the recruitment process. The charity has also gained four volunteer drivers to help young people get to their Nightstop placements.

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One young person was referred to Nightstop after being evicted from supported accommodation. After his host placement, he engaged with his project worker and with their support was able to return to his mother’s house for a few days.

He continued to stay at his mother’s, with nights at friends’ houses in between, before being accepted back to appropriate supported accommodation.

Mark Crow, Trusts & Foundations Manager at Depaul UK, said: “Nightstop is about preventing the escalation of homelessness for vulnerable young people.

“There are on average 800 young people presented with a housing or homelessness issue in Cumbria each year. This service keeps them away from mainstream homeless services and offers a safe, supportive space.”

Nightstop is intended to be a stopgap measure to ensure vulnerable youngsters do not get stuck in the homeless system and benefit from the support of hosts while they stay for a temporary period.

Both hosts and young people are vetted and there is a dedicated support line to contact 24 hours a day.

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