Homeless charity, SASH (Safe And Sound Homes), are looking for members of the public across North and East Yorkshire to become hosts, viz., to welcome local young people at risk of homelessness into their homes. Many of their current hosts have had to step back due to health concerns throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
SASH continued to operate throughout 2020, providing vital safety and stability for young people living in precarious situations who have already faced much disruption and abuse in their young lives. Now facing a 56% drop in the number of available hosts across all areas, the organisation is urgently seeking to recruit and train new hosts to continue providing their vital homelessness services.
SASH’s youth homelessness prevention services rely on members of the public, known as hosts, who open up their homes to vulnerable young people declared homeless and referred to SASH from Local Authorities and Housing Associations. SASH hosts come from all walks of life and, providing they have a spare room and a genuine desire to help, could provide a lifeline for a local young person with nowhere to stay. Hosts can provide their support for either short-term or longer-term stays, receiving full training and around-the-clock support from their dedicated SASH worker.
All young people seeking SASH’s support receive a Police National Computer check, a thorough risk assessment and COVID-19 health check before being accepted and carefully matched with an available host. Hosts also receive payments to cover all expenses associated with hosting a young person in their homes.
Yasmin and her daughters (Tzofiya, 8, and Bear, 6) have been hosting young people in their home in Scarborough for two years. Yasmin explained their motivation: “We started working with SASH because the truth is that when I was a kid, I would have needed SASH and it wasn’t there then. What I wanted was to make sure no child ever felt like that.” Yasmin went into more detail about her current SASH lodger: “I’m a teacher and mum-of-two, so as you can imagine 2020 was a whirlwind! One evening I suggested to my lodger we get a takeaway because of all the marking I’d yet to do. My SASH lodger told me not to worry and she prepared a delicious healthy meal for all the family instead. This young woman is awesome and watching her blossom is a privilege. Don’t get me wrong, our house is not perfect—there’s plenty of shouting! But my lodger says she doesn’t hear any of that—to her the house feels happy and she knows that she is finally safe.”
Yasmin’s two children also enjoy being part of a SASH host family. When asked what her favourite hosting moment was, 8-year-old Tzofiya said: “There are so many I can’t think of just one!”. Yasmin went on to explain about the support she receives from her dedicated SASH workers: “I feel reassured because there’s always someone on hand to offer support at the end of the phone should I need it.”
Andrew and Ali, both 54, are SASH hosts based in York who have been hosting for nearly two years. “We had thought about being SASH hosts for a while and, when we moved to a bigger house, we realised that this was the moment. Sometimes there are challenges but seeing our lodger blossom is amazing. You can’t put a price on it.” Ali explained how the relationship between SASH, the hosts and the young people works: “They support us as hosts as well as guiding the young people. Together we make a difference.”
David, 57, is based in Harrogate and has been hosting for 3 years: “My motivation for [becoming a host] came partly from the fact that I’ve got a room that lies empty, partly because of my faith as a Christian.” He shared his experiences of hosting during the pandemic: “In the run up to lockdown, things looked bleak, my lodger had just secured a job at a well-known hotel in York, only to be told the job was on hold, with no certainty that there would be one at the end of all this. In different ways lockdown was good for us both as we helped each other through it without really realising that we were. The support I get from SASH is very good indeed.”
To find out more about hosting for SASH, follow the link and fill in the short form to receive a call back from a local Host Coordinator with more information on the role. Alternatively, give SASH a call on 01904 652 043.