Charity: Herts Young Homeless
PUBLISHED: 16:00 13 December 2016
Winter and Christmas especially, is a brutal time for those without a roof over their head. Herts Young Homeless Group is dedicated to stopping vulnerable youngsters falling through the cracks and on to the streets
Seeing a lack of support services for young people in housing difficulty in the county, Joe Isaac wanted to find a way of helping to meet that need. In 1998, she set up Herts Young Homeless group with funding from the Crouchfield Trust charity. Since then, it has helped thousands.
The core work carried out by the charity is with 16- to 24-year-olds. Its mission is to prevent homelessness in the first place by providing a range of services including educational sessions in schools, family mediation, support for young people in their first home and assisting those with mental-health needs. The charity also runs a ‘Crashpad’ service that provides emergency accommodation in supporter’s homes to 16- and 17-year-olds who would otherwise end up on the streets. In just eight years, Herts Young Homeless has grown to 50 paid and voluntary staff, has offices in Hatfield, Hertford and Watford and supports around 2,000 young people a year.
Charity CEO Helen Elliot says, ‘I love working for HYH as the staff and volunteers are so passionate about helping those who need to access our services. It’s always heart-warming to hear about our success stories, such as the ex-service users who now sit on our board, and knowing that those we have helped are now in a safer, more stable position.’
A key to the success of the charity is to get in early before any issues can escalate. Helen sums it up: ‘The assistance provided by HYH is not just for those in crisis.’
To raise awareness of the ongoing need for support, the charity is hosting a ‘sleepout’ in St Albans on Friday December 2.
‘It’s a fantastic event with lots of camaraderie,’ Helen explains. ‘People collect sponsorship to sleep out under the stars in the grounds of the abbey, raising funds for several Hertfordshire homeless agencies. Alternatively, this year, people can pledge £10 to HYH to sleep in their own beds on that night.’
Details of the sleepout can be found on the charity’s website hyh.org.uk or at abbeysleepout.org
There are a number of other ways people can support the group’s work, from holding a fundraising event to joining the Friends of HYH or offering to become a Crashpad host. Herts Young Homeless is also very keen to hear from companies who would consider making it their charity of the year.
If you require the charity’s services, contact staff during normal office hours on freephone 08000 355 775.
To find out more about HYH and its work, visit hyh.org.uk