Bedding shot

 

 

 

 

 

You don’t always feel like hosting.

The phone-call asking if you are free usually feels like it comes at a really awkward time.

It often is probably the last thing you want to do after a long day at work…..

And then you remember,

We have a home, a warm home, we have food in our cupboards, we have friends, family and a support network,

Many of the guys we have hosted have none of these things, why would we not say yes?

Sure we may have had plans to meet friends, play sport, go out, or have a quiet night in but is there any reason the person we are hosting can’t join in or that we can’t put our plans on hold for a night.

We have been hosting for about a year and have agreed to take on two longer term placements for Nightstop. Both have been refugees granted asylum status but who have nowhere to move onto. The UK Government has supported them during the period they were seeking asylum, they were found to have grounds for asylum status in the UK, had this status granted and at this point all support has ceased. Upon receiving their decision, the one they have been waiting for, hoping for, dreaming of and relying on, all centralised support ceases and they are given 28 days to move out of their accommodation. A time that should be full of celebration, of fresh starts and planning for the future turns into a time where they face uncertainty, a lack of community and support, practically nowhere to live, nowhere to sleep, nowhere to wash their clothes – this is where Nightstop comes in.

A Nightstop placement means the threat of homelessness is diminished and the support the organisation gives means that the young person can begin to have hope for their future as the Nightstop team work to secure longer term accommodation, access to college, training, voluntary placements and employment.

We were told recently by the Nightstop coordinator that she had prepared the young person we were long term hosting for a weekend in a homeless hostel as she thought we were unavailable. This challenged us, sure we were due to watch rugby in a pub with friends and then go out for dinner, but was this a good enough reason for a young, non-English speaking, enthusiastic, smiley Sundanese refugee to spend his evening queuing for a bed in a hostel?

This situation really brought it home to us, we had to grapple with the reality that us choosing to put ourselves first, above the person we had been hosting for the last 3 weeks, the person we had been getting to know, the person we have seen slowly grasping English and growing in confidence, would equate to him having to sleep in a homeless hostel for the weekend.

It is easy to host, once you put yourself aside and realise that others needs can be more immediate than yours.

All that happened was we spoke to our friends, asked them to come to our house instead, we still watched the rugby and we grabbed a takeaway, our night wasn’t ruined and neither was the guys we are hosting, in fact he enjoyed meeting our friends, practicing his English and telling them about his life.

Our challenge to the good folks of the City of Bristol is if you have a spare room, are you using it?

Nightstop Hosts Mark and Kate are a young (ish) married couple.  They live with their house mate Rach, and their 2 cats.