Volunteers from Broadland Housing and YMCA Norfolk have raised £2,616 for an innovative project that will help set up young vulnerable homeless people in their first homes.
Around 30 volunteers, including Broadland Housing Chief Executive Michael Newey and 9 other Broadland staff, slept out on a wet and cold night in March in the car park of the YMCA Community Hub in Norwich. They bedded down in cardboard boxes to raise money for the Housing First project. The cash will be used to buy furniture for young people setting up in their own home.
Michael Newey returned to the Community Hub to present the money to YMCA Chief Executive John Lee – who was also among the volunteers sleeping out for the night.
Spending one night in the cold and wet was an eye-opener for those taking part, who will fortunately never know what it is like to be sleeping rough on the streets. For us it was just one night. For people who are homeless, they face the cold, the wet and the dangers of being on the streets night after night.
Broadland Housing is absolutely committed to tackling the problem of homelessness, and we are delighted to be working with the YMCA to be delivering the Housing First project with them, the first of its kind in East Anglia.
Michael Newey, CEO, Broadland Housing Association
We are delighted at the amount raised from the sleepout, which is part of the partnership between the YMCA and Broadland Housing, which is helping to deliver a really worthwhile project aimed at homeless young people who have difficult or chaotic backgrounds.
For a number of reasons, these young people find hostel accommodation difficult, so the aim of Housing First is to skip that step and get them established in their own homes, with a support package to help them succeed in their tenancies and get their lives back on track.
John Lee, Chief Executive, YMCA
Housing First is an approach which aims to tackle homelessness among people with particularly complex needs by aiming to get individuals into their own home as quickly as possible and providing them with the support they need to make it work. It involves minimising the amount of time spent in temporary accommodation and seeks to minimise the number of moves someone has to make before they move into a permanent home.