I’ve been a SASH host about four years. I love it.
I first heard about it through a friend. She was fostering and we wanted to do the same, but we were told that one of us would have to stay at home and I love my job. So my friends suggested SASH.
I didn’t really have any experience of homeless people before they started coming through the door and told us their stories. I’d not heard of sofa-surfing before either, it opened my eyes.
The other thing that has surprised me is the number of young people who need help. I didn’t realise that a lot of young people would leave the care system at 16 or 17, then come back for help because they couldn’t cope.
“I like to know that I’ve made a difference to someone’s life.”
My sons are still at home and it’s good for them to see another perspective. We had someone come to stay in Nightstop last Christmas. He was really low when he arrived, but then started to join in with the family.
He said we were his last chance – if he hadn’t come to us he would have been on the streets for Christmas. We got him some presents and he was overwhelmed. When he said ‘these are probably the only two presents I’ll get’ my son was like ‘wow!’. It’s good for him to see how others live, to not take things for granted.
I had another young man who said he couldn’t believe that people would be so kind, that there would be people who did this. It’s an eye opener for them as well. And it’s so nice to get that feedback.
It was lovely seeing the first lodger I had move into her own flat. She works full time now. She still keeps in touch, she comes over to visit on Christmas Eve and we all got together for her 21st birthday.
I like to know that I’ve made a difference to someone’s life. Just seeing them move on, and they ring up afterwards to let me know how they’re doing.
Even in Nightstop, even if it’s just 10 days it’s enough to help them move on. One of them calls us her second family. It is worth it, it can change somebody’s life. And the thanks that they give you when they leave, you know it’s really appreciated.
I would definitely recommend this to other people. You have your good days and your bad days, don’t get me wrong. You have to be patient, sometimes it’s hard. But seeing them finish college, do all those things that without SASH they wouldn’t get to do because now they’ve got a safe place, that makes it worthwhile.
SASH is giving young people a future. Without that, they might not get an education or go to work, and they’d be on the streets in their 20s.
Inspired by Jo’s experience? Find out how to become a SASH host – click here!