Feedback from a Nightstopper:
Jade* was referred to our Nightstop service and stayed with some of our hosts. We were delighted to receive this letter from her a few months later, when she had moved to somewhere permanent:
“When I became homeless, I didn’t trust anyone or anything. I didn’t know what would happen to me or if I’d ever be able to lead a normal life, because I felt lost and worthless having been through seemingly endless abuse. When I went to the council to declare myself homeless I genuinely believed nobody cared and that they wouldn’t help me. Don’t believe the rumours about your council! I was closed off and cold at first as a result. However, I quickly came to like the woman who was helping me out as we had more meetings and she took my concerns seriously.
“I realised that these people who volunteer for SASH are one of a kind and unique individuals.”
One thing I was nervous about was SASH. It seemed crazy to me. Putting me in strangers’ houses? What was I meant to expect? What would happen? They’re all questions anyone else in my position would ask. It’s terrifying being in a situation similar to mine.
After a lot of hesitation and reassurance I finally went to the SASH office. Well, the Nightstop staff there were brilliant and I liked them pretty quickly. They gave me some clothes and let me use a laptop while they found me somewhere to stay. They explained how everyone I would be put with for the night were DBS checked. I’ll always be thankful for the kindness they showed me.
The first night in Nightstop was still frightening, I remember feeling sick with anxiety on the bus ride to my host’s house. But the second that door opened and I was met with the loveliest, smiliest woman I thought I’d actually be okay. She showed me the bedroom I’d be staying in and we watched movies in the evening– it was the break from reality I needed. She even made me a hot water bottle for bedtime! When the weekend came and I met my second host, I was so much more confident.
I realised that these people who volunteer for SASH are one of a kind and unique individuals. They offer up their spare rooms to strangers, and that takes a lot of trust or the very least a great degree of care for the young people like me in horrid situations. They are amazing people I learnt a lot from, even little things like how to light fires and how nice cheese and broccoli is in a sandwich. But one big thing I learnt is that there are people who care. People who just want to help you out.
I’m now living in supported accommodation, and I feel safe again. But I truly think I wouldn’t have been able to get here if I hadn’t been through Nightstop or had the understanding that the council showed me. I’m now a much happier person with a lot less anxiety!”
*Not her real name, to protect privacy.