• Handpicked Harrogate

Harrogate residents: 'give your spare room' to homeless call

Can you give a room to a homeless youngster? A youth homelessness charity is calling for urgent help from Harrogate residents with a spare room to support vulnerable young people who are facing homelessness.

Last year more than 200 young people were referred to SASH’s Nightstop emergency accommodation scheme in North Yorkshire; more than a quarter of these in the Harrogate area.

But the charity currently only has two Nightstop ‘hosts’ in Harrogate which is putting the service under severe pressure.

Director Peter Robinson said: “Nightstop is a vital service that keeps very vulnerable young people safe at a time of crisis in their lives and we desperately need more people in Harrogate to help.

“With just the two in Harrogate, it’s making it very hard for us to give help to every young person in the area who needs it and it also puts a strain on our two highly dedicated volunteers.

” SASH prevents young people aged 16 to 25 years old from becoming homeless by offering them a room in a volunteer’s home. In total last year, SASH arranged almost 1400 nights of accommodation in 2017 with 244 of these being with volunteers in Harrogate.

More than a third of those referred to the charity were just 16 or 17 years old. A total fof 45 per cent were homeless because of family breakdown. Other reasons for homelessness included relationship breakdowns, eviction or overcrowding.

One Harrogate SASH volunteer, Angela Lloyd said it could be a difficult role at times but support was always at hand. She said: “It’s not always easy, sometimes teenagers think they know it all.

The thing that keeps me doing this is the thought that what I do might just make a bit of difference in their lives. “And there’s always plenty of support from SASH when you need it. I’m always telling others about it, saying they should give it a go.” All the young people referred to SASH are police-checked and risk assessed.

Volunteers are fully trained before they start hosting and receive ongoing support from SASH, as well payments to cover the expenses involved. To find out more, contact info@sash-uk.org.uk