“Nightstop for me was a new beginning; everyone was so helpful and kind, from start to finish.”

When she was just three years old, Miah* was placed into care along with her sister, as it wasn’t safe to be around her mum’s boyfriend. Later, the sisters moved in with their aunt and uncle where they grew up. Once Miah was in college, she confided in her Guidance Officer at college that she had been sexually abused and couldn’t return home. After contacting the authorities to make sure Miah’s younger sister was safe, the College Guidance Officer got in touch with our partner agency centre, asking for support for Miah.

The next day Miah left her family home with just her college bag and arrived at the centre, not realising at that point that she would never have to return to her abusive home. Once in the safe environment of the centre, Miah felt able to open up to the staff revealing to them the realities of life at home for her. For Miah, this had meant no freedom, being banned from seeing her friends and having her mobile phone, bank card and money confiscated. At this point Miah was offered emergency accommodation through Nightstop, as she had nowhere else to go.

After just one night in her volunteer hosts’ home, Miah had felt their kindness and knew she was welcome in their home. Miah carried on staying with her host family for 11 days, and during this time the SASH team got involved to start the process of finding Miah a longer term Supported Lodgings placement. In this type of placement, young people like Miah stay with volunteer hosts for up to two years and learn how to live independently including starting applications for universal credit and getting help to find a job. With support from SASH, young people can learn a whole host of skills from setting up a bank account and learning how to budget, to cooking and other useful household skills.

Since being in Supported Lodgings, Miah’s been developing in lots of these areas as well as growing in confidence and finding her voice.

Just like everyone else, Miah is adapting to living in this strange new world, progressing through her college work online. With the support of her hosts and SASH support workers, Miah has been planning her return to college next year and searching for a weekend job.

SASH are very proud of how far Miah has come since first reaching out for help. Just as with all of our supported young people, we’re keeping in contact with Miah with virtual check-ins until she’s ready for independent living.

When asked about what SASH meant to her, Miah said: “Nightstop for me was a new beginning; everyone was so helpful and kind, from start to finish.”

SASH believes every young person deserves a chance, and we’re committed to supporting vulnerable young people like Miah to independent lives and breaking the cycle of homelessness.

*Not her real name, to protect privacy.

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