“I had nowhere to go. If I didn’t have Nightstop I would have slept on the streets,” said Jo, 19, one of the many young people that New Forest Nightstop has saved from homelessness.
The charity provides vital emergency accommodation through host families. From a friendly listening ear, to a bed, clean clothing and a healthy meal, New Forest Nightstop saves those who are on the brink of despair. Just one night in safe housing can make a huge difference. Jo said: “I actually felt like a human person for once.”
Richard and Jane have acted as a host family for New Forest Nightstop for over four years now, and have more than 20 years of experience of working with young people. Jane explains that scarily the largest number of referrals for homeless young people now come from local colleges. She explained: “New Forest Nightstop is an amazing project. The New Forest is seen as being an affluent area but there are no hostels or facilities like there are in a big city for those who suddenly find themselves homeless. If you get people off the streets then you’re benefitting the whole community by reducing the risk of crime and substance abuse.”
Short term immediate accommodation and advice has led many to longer term temporary housing where they can start to rebuild their lives. Once in a safe home, young adults can seek advice to help them find financial support and employment.
For the young people who New Forest Nightstop have helped, it’s about knowing that someone is there who cares.
New Forest Nightstop won Best Voluntary and Charity Project at the 2012 National Lottery Awards.