Recent statistics provided by the Department for Communities and local government show a 16% rise in rough sleepers in the UK compared to last year. Bedford Borough competes with the highest rates among the country.
YMCA Bedfordshire’s Supported Lodgings scheme is working among some of the town’s most vulnerable young people aged 16-25 to tackle the issue of homelessness. Young people referred to the scheme are often sofa surfing, leaving care or experiencing family breakdown; all are in need of stable and safe accommodation which the Supported Lodgings scheme aims to provide through lodgings in households in our community.
When asked about what Supported Lodgings meant to her, Kayleigh, a young person in placement on the scheme said: “Since I have had the support of Jodi Lovelock (Supporting Lodgings) and the YMCA my life has completely changed. I can honestly say I don’t think I would have made it through some tough times without them. I have now got a steady job and am still going forward with my life with a brilliant placement and support team to help me when I need it. Without Supported Lodgings a lot of young people like me would not stand a chance.”
Supported Lodgings is providing excellent support to young people with the help of their hosts. Young people on the scheme move into the host’s home as a lodger. They get up to 10 hours of support a week from YMCA Bedfordshire and learn independent living skills from their hosts.
The aim of the scheme is to empower young people to thrive and to be able to live successfully in their own accommodation. One young person about to move into their own BPHA accommodation said: “I feel independent and ready to move on. I have saved enough money to buy some furniture for my new place and I don’t feel like I need support anymore. I have learnt a lot through my hosts and the YMCA and now feel excited about having a place that is mine!”
In order to see these positive outcomes, Supported Lodgings relies on help from members of our community. Anyone over the age of 21 who passes our vetting and checks procedure can become a host. Sasha Beechey who recently became a host heard of the scheme through In2beats radio station. She wanted to make a difference so enquired about the scheme and now has a young person living in her once spare room!
If you could offer your spare room to a young person who needs help YMCA Bedfordshire want to hear from you! Call Sarah 07944273228 or visit www.ymcabedfordshire.org and go to the supported lodgings page.