Yvonne lives near Harrogate and has been a SASH Host since 2013. She has helped over 50 young people who had nowhere safe to stay.
I’ve been hosting about four years now. I heard about SASH in the Harrogate paper. I’ve done work in the church with the homeless and vulnerable so I thought I could do this and I applied. I’ve hosted foreign students before, so it wasn’t completely new to me, but offering a room to homeless young people was.
When I had the first person come to stay, I was really apprehensive. But the young people are just as worried – it must be a really terrifying experience for them.
I wasn’t really aware of youth homelessness. It opens your eyes. I’ve found a lot of young people are homeless because when there’s a large family, say people remarry, it’s ok when the children are young but as they get older, if there are problems it’s the older ones that have to go.
I don’t think I had any preconceptions about what a homeless young person might be like. They are no different from any other teenagers, all they need is a bit of space away from it all. . SASH do all the assessments and checks before they ring a host, so you know they’re safe to have in your home.When I started doing this I was told that they are usually on their best behaviour when they come into Nightstop, and it’s true!
They’re all different, I just adapt to how they are, if they want to chat, or go out. The key to it is the information we get from SASH on the phone. It’s so important, so you have a little bit of background and understanding about where they’ve come from, you know what might be a sensitive area.
People ask me why I do this. I do it because I can and because it could be any of us in that situation – lose your home, foreclosure, you just don’t know. That’s why I’ve always done these things – I think if I were in that position, I’d like someone to help me.
It’s a very rewarding thing, I’d definitely recommend it to other people. It’s been a very positive experience, especially when you get a card through the door thanking you for what you’ve done, or they come up to you in the Co-op and say ‘Hi, I’m doing really well!’. There is one girl who still comes to see me. She was really troubled but she’s getting sorted out now. It makes it all worthwhile.