Charity urges volunteers to give up rooms to Glasgow’s young homeless
Young people in Glasgow facing the prospect of sleeping rough on the streets are to be provided an emergency bed for the night in a volunteer’s home rather than in a homelessness hostel.
Homeless charity Simon Community Scotland has received funding from the Big Lottery Fund to set up a network of beds in people’s spare rooms throughout the city.
The charity, which is marking its 50th anniversary this month, said its Nightstop initiative will allow a young person to stay in their own private room with a welcoming volunteer host for up to three nights.
The hope is that, during that time, Simon Community Scotland staff can then assist the young person to find a more long-term solution to what has taken them to the brink of homelessness.
Hugh Hill, director of services at Simon Community Scotland, said: “The decision to sleep rough is a huge one; however, once someone has slept rough once, the decision to sleep rough again is a much easier one. So, it’s vital to stop rough sleeping before it has begun.
“The reasons why young people end up homeless are varied.
“Most commonly, it’s a breakdown in the relationship at home and sometimes a cooling-off period allows staff to support the family to reconnect and talk through their issues.
“Sometimes, the young person is escaping violence or abuse. Or is facing issues concerning their sexuality.”
The call is being made for the people of Glasgow to join the Nightstop network, by offering up any spare rooms they have in their homes and becoming a host. Volunteers will be given training and support from the charity.
Mr Hill added: “The Nightstop concept has been hugely successful in other parts of the country and we’re excited about the opportunity to deliver a safe, compassionate and homely alternative to potentially risky options elsewhere.”
The charity, Depaul UK, already leads a national Nightstop network, with 33 services around the UK - from Edinburgh to Devon - working in partnership with local organisations to deliver it.
Nicola Harwood, head of Depaul Nightstop, said: “Last year, we provided 13,500 bed nights, increasing young people’s safety and making them less likely to sleep rough or become trapped in the cycle of homelessness.
“We are absolutely delighted to launch ‘Nightstop’ in Glasgow, and to be working in partnership with Simon Community Scotland to deliver this important service.
“Nightstop is a vital service for many young people who have nowhere to turn to, and it’s fantastic to see it being launched in the city this year.”
The Rangers Charity Foundation is staging a series of ‘sleep outs’ at the club’s Ibrox stadium throughout November to raise funds, while the Big Lottery Fund is providing £150,000 towards making the service a reality.
Nightstop Glasgow is due to start operating from December. Simon Community Scotland anticipates the service will, over its first three years, prevent 120 young people from sleeping rough or spending the night in an adult shelter.
Lorraine McGrath, chief executive of Simon Community Scotland, added: “The support from the Big Lottery Fund and the Rangers Charity Foundation to develop a nightstop service is Glasgow is truly fantastic.
“Rough sleeping is unhealthy, unsafe and risky and we want to prevent young people who are already in distress and vulnerable being put at even more risk from homelessness.”
Prospective Nightstop Glasgow volunteers, with spare rooms, should contact Pauline Hannigan on 0141 418 6980.
For more information about the sponsored sleep-out at Ibrox stadium, call 0141 580 8775 or e-mail email@example.com.