“I went to live with my step-dad’s daughter. I was there about 6 months I think, but she’s got two kids, and she couldn’t afford to keep me.”
Josh was 17 when he was made homeless for the second time. He had been living with his step-dad since the age of 6. “I didn’t really have much contact with my mother.” he says. “I went to live with my step-dad’s daughter. I was there about 6 months I think, but she’s got two kids, and she couldn’t afford to keep me.”
So Josh went to live with a friend for a while, before finding a place at a hostel in his home town. He had been there for a couple of months when his mother got in touch. “She had lost her job. She worked in a B&B and had accommodation with her job, so when she lost her job she had nowhere to live. She was going to move to York and asked me if I wanted to come with her.”
Josh was happy at the thought of living with his mother, and they moved to York together. “It was alright at first, the first few months. Then we just started arguing all the time and she kicked me out. I didn’t know what to do. I had nowhere else to go.“
Josh went to the council for advice. He hadn’t heard of Nightstop before, but they explained how it worked. SASH could offer him overnight accommodation in the home of one of their volunteer ‘hosts’, while he waited for somewhere more permanent to become available in York. He would get an evening meal, his own room to sleep in, and breakfast the next day.
Describing the experience, Josh said: “It was a bit weird at first, sleeping in a stranger’s house, but I got used to it and a bit more confident and it was fine. It was good to have some food as well.” It was January when Josh was made homeless. “I didn’t have a coat, I had no money. SASH bought me one as it was cold.”
Josh was placed with a SASH host in York, with easy access to college, to ensure that he was able to continue attending his college course. As Josh had no income, SASH also covered his travel expenses, and provided money for him to buy lunch.
“I would get up, have breakfast at my host’s, then go to college. I finished at different times, so normally I would hang around the lounge at college until was time for me to go to my host’s.” explains Josh. With the accommodation and support that SASH provided, Josh managed to attend college every day that he was using the Nightstop service and did not miss out on any of his studies.
After two weeks of staying with SASH hosts, Josh moved on to his own accommodation. Without the support of SASH, things might have been very different, says Josh. “I don’t know what my alternative would have been; I don’t have many friends here, no one that I could have stayed with. Now I’m looking forward to finishing my media studies. I want to become a photographer”.