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Couple praised for opening home to homeless teenagers

Couple praised for opening home to homeless teenagers

Published at 6:45am 10th February 2017. (Updated at 3:51pm 16th February 2017)

Youth homeless charity SASH is paying tribute to a Harrogate couple, who've helped support young people who're at risk of becoming homeless.

SASH prevents 16-25-year-olds from becoming homeless by offering them a room in the home of a volunteer ‘host’.

The aim is to keep vulnerable young people safe when they find themselves with no home to go to, whilst SASH works with the local authority to help them to find somewhere permanent to live.

Joyce and David Smith, who live in Harrogate, started volunteering for SASH in 2012.  Since then, the couple have opened up their home to 43 different young people from the Harrogate area, offering a total of 190 nights of accommodation.They have now decided to retire from their role as volunteers to give more time to their family.

Joyce and David say: “We were a bit nervous when we first joined SASH but felt hosting was something we could do. However we need not have worried as we found all the young people we met to be interesting, polite and appreciative. We have really enjoyed being involved with the young people and feel we have got a lot out of it, so we would definitely recommend hosting to others.”

Natalie Revell, Supported Lodgings Host Coordinator for Harrogate, said: “We want to thank Joyce and David for their tremendous support over the past five years.  We know that 80% of those we help said they did not know where they would have slept, or would have slept rough if our service had not been available. Joyce and David have made such a difference to the lives of so many young people and will be sorely missed.  We are always looking for volunteers to join us, but losing such committed hosts has made this all the more urgent.  If you have a spare room and would like to help us prevent youth homelessness by hosting, please get in touch.”

Listen to when Stray FM's Lisa Darvill talked to Joyce and David on the Home and Garden Show. 

Anyone wanting to find out more about volunteering can visit www.sash-uk.org.uk or call the SASH office on 01904 652043.