Local youth homelessness charity, SASH, has said a huge thank you and goodbye to Jess Popplewell, who has supported more than 20 young people in the past four years as a volunteer host and is now moving to London.
SASH provides safe and sound homes to vulnerable adolescents across North and East Yorkshire through its Nightstop and Supported Lodgings schemes and is actively seeking to recruit more volunteer hosts (like Jess).
Jess began hosting in 2015 when she purchased her first house. Having left home at a young age herself and working closely with students in her role at the University of York, she had a great understanding of the challenges some young people face and felt hosting with SASH was a great way of making a real difference to the lives of youngsters in her community.
Jess has acted as a host for both the charity’s emergency Nightstop service and the longer term Supported Lodgings service.
Having left home at 16 myself, I know how important it is that young people have a strong support network. Fortunately, I had that support but other teenagers and young people aren’t always as lucky as I was.
So, when I bought my first house, I had a spare room and knew that hosting was something I’d like to do.
It’s definitely the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and I don’t understand why more people don’t do it! The training and support you receive from SASH is brilliant and hosting can be really flexible.
There are so many different reasons why young people become homeless and offering them a place to stay for a few nights, or maybe longer, can be all they need to turn their life around.
Georgia Jenkins has been staying with Jess as part of the Supported Lodgings scheme for the past two years. She has recently moved into her own accommodation and is starting college in September.
Speaking of the support she has received from Jess and the charity, Georgia said: “When I was first offered a place to stay through SASH I was really nervous, living with a stranger seems strange at first but within a few hours of meeting Jess I knew it would be okay!
During my time with Jess and through the support of SASH, I’ve gained much more confidence and learnt important life skills such as how to pay my rent and bills.
SASH really changed my mindset and if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what I’d be like now. I’m looking forward to the next stage of my life and starting college in September.”
Laura Smith, Local Area Coordinator, SASH, said:
We are extremely sad to see Jess leave us. She has been able to offer our young people an immeasurable level of support over the last four years.
We are desperately seeking new hosts of all ages across the region with the demand for safe and sound homes far outweighing what we have available to offer vulnerable young people like Georgia facing homelessness.
Hosting with SASH can be flexible around people’s existing commitments and we provide full training, ongoing support as well as small financial benefits.
SASH works to prevent homelessness in 16-25 year olds throughout North and East Yorkshire. The charity provides an emergency Nightstop service as well as a longer term accommodation Supported Lodgings provision of up to two years, all of which is delivered by volunteer hosts who give up a spare room in their homes for the young people to stay.
To find out more about becoming a volunteer host, visit the SASH website or call Adele on 01904 652043.