Aberdeen Foyer Launches Nightstop to Combat Youth Homelessness in Northeast Scotland6 Sep 2022
In partnership with Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, local charity Aberdeen Foyer has launched a new service that aims to stop youth homelessness in its tracks.
The Foyer Nightstop service aims to support young people in crisis by connecting them with community hosts to provide a safe, welcoming space on a temporary basis. This can give young people time to breathe and support to figure out their next steps.
Nightstop urgently needs Community Hosts who have a spare room in their home to offer a young person, aged 16-25 a night or two or up to a few weeks’ emergency overnight accommodation. This can prevent young people from facing a night on the streets or staying in a dangerous environment.
Volunteer community hosts will be supported by Foyer’s Nightstop service and be able to offer young people aged from 16 to 25 years:
• A private spare room
• A hot meal
• A shower
• Laundry facilities
• A listening ear
Last year alone there were 720 young people presenting as homeless in Aberdeen City and Shire. From Aberdeen Foyer’s direct experience working with young people findings also indicate that many feel they have little or no choice but to remain in unsafe or unsuitable accommodation. Nightstop offers a chance to change this.
It works by providing accommodation to low-risk young people who have been referred to Aberdeen Foyer by local authorities and other agencies. Each young person is supported to obtain two professional references, as well as this, a risk assessment is carried out to ensure they are safe to place, and recruited hosts are also vetted to ensure suitability and safety.
By matching hosts to those in need of support, a young person gains a safe place to stay for a night or two to decide their next steps. The service offers both crisis response (young people presenting as homeless) and early intervention (respite for young people who are experiencing conflict within the family home but may be able to move back home with support).
Chief Executive Leona McDermid said: “Nightstop can offer young people who are in crisis a safe space free of danger, and the opportunity to connect with any support they might need whilst continuing their daily lives such as going to school, college or work.
“Nightstop relies on host volunteers from our local communities with the Foyer providing support and training and is rewarding in so many ways. Your spare room might be the difference between a young person staying safe or ending up on the streets, and I would encourage anyone who might be interested in hosting to contact us for an informal chat and more information.“
Cllr Anne Stirling, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Communities Committee, said: “We welcome this partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeen Foyer to develop an innovative service for young people aged 16-25 who may be at risk of homelessness. We hope the service will provide the opportunity for young people to engage with services to avoid homelessness where possible and help with a planned move to suitable long-term accommodation or to reconcile with family members if appropriate. This development has arisen from actions within our Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan to address youth homelessness.”
Convener of Aberdeen City Council’s Operational Delivery Committee, Councillor Miranda Radley, said: “This is fantastic partnership that aims to tackle a hugely important issue within our city. Services like Nightstop mean that even in the most difficult circumstances, young people in Aberdeen will have an option of somewhere safe to spend the night.”
Council Co-Leader, Councillor Ian Yuill, said: “Working together with organisations like Aberdeen Foyer strengthens the Council’s commitment to combating homelessness in Aberdeen. We urge those able and willing to volunteer to do so and help support this initiative aimed at keeping vulnerable young people safe.”