Search

Host families open doors to teens

PUBLISHED: 15:15 12 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:20 06 July 2010

OPENING their homes up to homeless young people, three local hosts have spoken about the new life these promising youngsters have brought to their households as organisers appeal for more people to come forward and help.

OPENING their homes up to homeless young people, three local hosts have spoken about the new life these promising youngsters have brought to their households as organisers appeal for more people to come forward and help.

Jackie Cailes, of Oulton, Valerie Vry, of Lowestoft, and John Thomson, of Oulton Broad, have all welcomed talented 17 year olds into their houses as part of the St Edmund and Waveney YMCA supported lodgings scheme. And this week all three spoke about the life these teenagers have brought to their homes.

St Edmund and Waveney YMCA run a supported lodgings and nightstop scheme across the region, helping to accommodate young people who have nowhere to go.

The teenagers, aged between 16 and 18, are often still in full time education, but due to a variety of circumstances have found themselves sleeping at friends or looking anywhere for a room to stay.

Through the nightstop scheme they are found a room with a local volunteer host for up to three nights, while through supported lodgings they are carefully matched up with host families as part of a longer-term arrangement.

The hosts do not have parental-style control over the independent youngsters and do receive some of their housing benefit in rent, but often a nurturing family-like relationship does evolve.

Host Jackie Cailes said: “With supportive lodgings they obviously become part of the family. It's more than just being a landlady, with emotional support as well as practical. It is very rewarding.”

Host John Thomson added: “You have to be prepared to help them, encourage and give them responsibility, so they learn how to budget, do washing, keep tidy and cook.”

Valerie Vry's terminally husband John died in December 2008 after two young people attacked him, but this did not put her off helping others.

“I'd always wanted to do something like that. If anything it made me more determined and the boy and girl have brought laughter and life to my house - an extension of my own family really.”

There are currently 22 young people in placements from Lowestoft to Bury St Edmunds, including 13 in Waveney, but more families are needed to step forward and offer their homes.

“I have a whole folder full of referrals. They are all young people in full-time education, or wanting further education, but they haven't got anywhere to go,” said YMCA accommodation worker Kim Burden.

If you would like to find out more on the process involved in becoming a host family phone Kim on 07912 516823.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Lowestoft Journal

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists