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“they are in the situation where a night or two somewhere safe could make all the difference between becoming lost on the streets and avoiding homelessness altogether”

The Edinburgh Nightstop service aims to provide young people between the ages of 16 and 25 years with emergency accommodation for up to 2 weeks in the homes of approved volunteers (although this can be extended, depending on circumstances).

The service is very much geared towards preventing young people entering the formal homeless system and staying in temporary bed and breakfast or adult hostel accommodation. It seeks to provide a bit of time out for the young person (and their family or carers) so that support can be put in place to help prevent the breakdown of their current accommodation arrangements, if possible, or identify and secure longer term accommodation most appropriate to the young person.

A member of staff is contactable for advice or support, for both young people and hosts. An emergency number is available 24 hours.

Nightstop Edinburgh is part of a national network of schemes and is affiliated to Depaul Nightstop UK.

Depaul UK published a report Danger Zones and Stepping Stones that stated: “…the young people interviewed reported no positive experiences of staying in generic hostel accommodation. They said they were housed with much older residents and exposed to negative influences such as drugs and alcohol. “It’s mad, total madness,” said one young interviewee.”

Nightstop is offering an alternative to this type of emergency accommodation. It was also stated; “This research suggests that young people are most likely to progress into stable accommodation from temporary living arrangements that present low levels of risk, and where those accommodating them have a high capacity to provide support.” The recommended type of emergency accommodation to assist young people to move onto stable accommodation is Nightstop.

Depaul reported; “The young people interviewed for this report experienced very dangerous situations in their attempts to stay off the streets, including staying with strangers while constantly in fear of assault, lodging with an uncle addicted to hard drugs, going to all-night parties with predatory men or suggesting ‘sleepovers’ to school friends simply to find a place to stay.

“These experiences are often termed ‘sofa surfing’, a phrase which does not adequately capture the high levels of risk young people are experiencing.” Nightstop is offering young people, safe, reliable and supportive temporary accommodation.

Last year over 900 young people presented at City of Edinburgh Council as homeless. These young people will normally be put into potentially dangerous hostel or B&B temporary accommodation. Depaul UK’s Danger Zones and Stepping Stones report stated. “While some temporary living arrangements were good for young people, many were found to be harmful. Physical effects included fatigue due to poor and irregular sleep patterns, weight loss, and health issues connected to drugs and alcohol. Significant risks to young people’s personal safety also exist because some living arrangements, for example staying with strangers, could leave them vulnerable to mistreatment and exploitation. “They could have done anything to me,” recalled one young person.

If you’d like to know more about the ins and outs of how Nightstop works – have a look at our guide – What, How, Why: Nightstop Broken Down.

Alternatively get in touch via our contact form or email admin@rocktrust.org . Nightstop hosts are currently needed in Edinburgh and West Lothian.

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