We want to end youth homelessness and we’re tackling the problem locally by providing a home and support to over 100 vulnerable young people in Norfolk and Suffolk every night. We give them a stable home and the skills they need so they can leave us and forge an independent life.
Forming part of our Housing and Homelessness service and in addition to our accommodation centres is our network of Hosts, who are trained and supported by us to look after young people in the Hosts’ own homes. We call this service Heart and Home.
Hosts offer a bedroom, support, tolerance and understanding to young people, who are usually aged between 16 and 18, to provide them with stability and a safe place to live. Many young people benefit far more from a home-like environment and the support of a family or individual than from a more formal hostel environment.
Heart and Home works closely with Hosts, other agencies and local authorities to provide the young people with the support they need to become independent. This includes providing them with important life skills, such as cooking, shopping and budgeting money, as well as supporting their education, training and career.
Could you become a Heart and Home Host?
We are always keen to hear from people interested in becoming a Heart and Home Host, who can offer a young person a safe and stable home.
The young person may currently be looking for the ‘next step’ from foster care or a residential Children’s Home. All referrals come via the local authorities Children’s Services and we always meet with each young person to assist us with matching them to the right Host and household, which should be a furnished bedroom in a domestic house with use of WC, bathing, cooking and laundry facilities.
A Heart and Home Host should be resident full time in the property but pursue their own lifestyle, including daily routine, work and holidays. We need hosts to provide a home-like environment and domestic routine consistent with the young person engaging in education, employment or training, and encourage the developing their independence.
The Heart and Home team, including Managers, Placement Coordinators and Support Workers, manage, develop and oversee the service. They meet with the Host and young person regularly to provide training, advice, guidance and support.
In addition to receiving comprehensive training in safeguarding issues and a bespoke and informative induction course, Hosts receive support payments from The Benjamin Foundation while a young person is staying with them.
Could you open your home – and your heart – to a young person in need of a place to live? Contact our Heart and Home team on 01603 886930 for an informal chat and more information, or download our frequently asked questions.
I've intervened to try to change one person's life. If everybody did that it would make a profound difference.