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Charity plea to Lowestoft families

PUBLISHED: 09:27 04 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:52 06 July 2010

A CHARITY has called on families in Lowestoft to help them care for the increasing number of homeless teenagers in the town.

The YMCA, which has a base in the town, urgently needs more families to offer their spare rooms for use as part of the Suffolk Nightstop scheme which provides emergency accommodation to 16 to 18-year-olds for up to three nights.

A CHARITY has called on families in Lowestoft to help them care for the increasing number of homeless teenagers in the town.

The YMCA, which has a base in the town, urgently needs more families to offer their spare rooms for use as part of the Suffolk Nightstop scheme which provides emergency accommodation to 16 to 18-year-olds for up to three nights.

With the credit crunch making paying for private accommodation increasingly difficult, the charity is working hard to find families to help them look after teenagers who need a temporary home.

Last week, The Journal revealed that up to 20 people a week are being turned away from direct access hostels in Lowestoft and now the YMCA is hoping that people who have a spare room to offer might be able to help vulnerable youngsters.

There are currently six young people living in YMCA Supported Lodgings in and around Lowestoft, which is a scheme offering accommodation with a family or single person for up to two years.

Debbie Scroggins, accommodation coordinator for St Edmund and Waveney YMCA, said that the charity's Nightstop and Supported Lodgings projects offer support for teenagers who need it.

She said: “These young people need support, because once we lose them to the streets, that's it. Communities need to recognise that these aren't just problems in big cities - it's happening right on their doorstep and affects rural areas as well as big towns.

“The young people can end up homeless for a wide range of reasons - some fall out with step-parents, others have chaotic home lives or financial problems. It can happen to anybody.”

In order to be able to help more local youngsters, the charity is trying to find people who have spare rooms and who might be able to offer a bed to a homeless teenager for one or more nights.

Mrs Scroggins said: “So many teenagers are sofa-surfing and staying overnight at their friends' houses, but essentially they are homeless. They have no support and no permanent home, which is a devastating way to live.

“Even if people can offer a room for between one and three nights, that really can be the important first step towards securing a more stable future for these young people and breaking their often chaotic life cycles.”

Anyone who wants to volunteer or find out more about the Nightstop and Supported Lodgings schemes, or who can donate any overnight items like toothbrushes, can email ymca.accommodation.projects@googlemail.com or telephone Kim Burden on 07912 516823.

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