Could you spare a room for a young homeless person?

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Horton Housing Association is looking for people in the Calderdale area who could make a real difference to a young person’s life by offering their spare room and some support.

The Supported Lodging scheme gives a young person, who is homeless or at risk of homelessness, a warm, safe place to live, support in preparing to live independently and the chance to look forward to the future.

Pat Fraser became a supported lodgings host two years ago. The role appealed to her after a career of working with young people – she has been both a college lecturer and a classroom support assistant for children with special needs. She has previously offered her spare room to overseas students from a local private school at weekends and holidays.

She said: “I wanted to give someone a home who needed to be surrounded by the support I could give them that I gave my own children. One of my friends told me about supported lodgings.”

After Pat got in touch with Horton, a support worker visited her at home and explained how the scheme worked and how she would be assessed to ensure she was happy and able to be a host. The assessment usually involves three meetings with a member of staff and a DBS check.

After a successful application, Pat was matched with a young person within a few weeks. She has now been living with a young person for 14 months and both are happy with the arrangement.

Pat said: “You’ve got to be tolerant and willing to talk things through, but I’ve also got to be far more assertive than I would be naturally. It’s a learning curve on both sides.

“I would recommend it. It’s very, very rewarding when I see the changes.”

Hosts are required to provide meals and help the young person learn how to live independently in preparation for moving on to their own accommodation. This includes things like showing them how to cook, do their laundry and general household chores.

Claire O’Neill, Support Co-ordinator for the Supported Lodgings scheme, said: “It’s great to see Pat and her lodger at home. It’s working for them and Pat is clearly enjoying her host experience.

“We would love to have some more people to join an already established small bank of hosts. Each host has something about them that can make a difference to a young person’s life. In return, we will give you support while you have your lodger, training and a fee. The role isn’t always easy, but our hosts really enjoy what they do and some have been in the role for a number of years with great success.”

Supported Lodgings became part of the YPASS (Young Persons’ Prevention and Support Service) with Horton Housing in September 2017. The young people have undergone an assessment process and are matched to a host vacancy. Hosts do not need a health or social care background; we are looking for personal qualities and practical skills. Anyone interested in the role can get in touch to find out more and if they want to go ahead with an application, we will take them through the process step by step.

Horton is also running an emergency supported lodgings scheme in partnership with Bradford Nightstop. Emergency hosts who could supply a bed on a one night at a time or nightly basis.

Anyone interested in finding out more about becoming a supported lodging host can get in touch with Claire O’Neill on 01422 385993 or claire.oneill@hortonhousing.co.uk

If you think you could be an emergency host, please contact Bradford Nightstop on 01274 776888 or visit www.bradfordnightstop.org.uk