The service, previously run by Herts Young Homeless (HYH), forms part of the national Nightstop UK network run by Depaul UK, and will soon be ready to host young people across the entire county.
Nightstop services around the UK – supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery – provide emergency, same-night accommodation for young people experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness, in the homes of trained and vetted volunteer hosts.
Noreen Gilhespy, Nightstop Coordinator for Hertfordshire, said: “We’re delighted to be bringing this essential service back to Hertfordshire, where it will provide a lifeline for young people who find themselves in a difficult situation.”
By offering short-term accommodation, volunteers can give people experiencing homelessness the breathing space they need to get back on their feet. Staff at the service also help people find other useful services and permanent accommodation.
The service is currently recruiting more volunteer hosts who are willing to take in a young person at risk of homelessness for one night at a time. They receive comprehensive training and also expenses when hosting.
Noreen added: “As a volunteer-led service, we depend on the volunteer hosts who provide a home for young people. I would encourage anyone who wants to make a real difference to someone’s life to get in touch. We will be covering the whole county, from Watford to Hatfield, as far as Bishop’s Stortford, and all the way up to Royston.
“Similarly, any schools, youth centres, or council services working with young people who could be at risk should get in touch if they want to find out more about our services. It’s an exciting time and we want to build as many relationships as possible.”
More than half of the young people who use Nightstop become homeless due to relationship breakdown.
To find out more about becoming a Nightstop host, or a referral partner contact Noreen Gilhespy on 07966 742924 or Nightstop.Hertfordshire@depaulcharity.org.uk