I am… a Nightstop host
Playing host to homeless young people
‘Well, that concludes your training and checks. Can you host tonight?’ These were the words that – after one day of training in Manchester, two home checks and a Disclosure and Barring Service approval – started our Nightstop journey. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that the journey started after we moved to a larger house, and wondered how to use the extra space. Our minister mentioned Nightstop – a scheme for volunteers to house homeless young people, run by Depaul UK, a national homelessness charity. After prayer and consideration, we were guided in this direction. So, on a Monday night, the first day of lockdown, with some trepidation, we welcomed our first young person.
Nightstop first launched in November 2017. Volunteers normally provide a young person with a home for one night, or a weekend. Hosts provide a private room, an evening meal, breakfast and a packed lunch, doing any washing the young person might have, and charging their electronic devices. The young person being hosted may attend school, college, work, or they may be lost. For a variety of reasons, each of these young people has nowhere stable to live. The purpose of Nightstop is to prevent young people becoming street homeless and getting caught in that dangerous downward spiral. Nightstop, and the agencies it liaises with, acts as a service to guide young people towards finding their own feet. The aim is to find permanent accommodation for the young person within three weeks.
Covid has changed the one-night model. Unfortunately, it has also prevented some hosts from hosting. In our case, we had a handy solution for self-isolation: our campervan. It’s amazing what God can find to use to provide love and care! Our camper van meant we could provide immediate shelter for a young person before moving them into the house at the end of a self-isolation period. Nightstop now aims to have young people tested. Vulnerable young people are exempt from household mixing but, as hosts, we have to consider the risk to ourselves and our family…
Jane and Cameron are Nightstop hosts
This is an extract from an article published in the March 2021 edition of Reform