If you're aged 16 to 25 and homeless, a Nightstop or similar scheme may be able to arrange temporary emergency accommodation with someone with a spare room in their home.
Emergency housing through Nightstop schemes
Nightstop and similar emergency housing schemes can help if you're a homeless young person aged 16 to 25.
They can provide a free, safe, supportive and welcoming environment in the home of a volunteer. Stays can be anything from just one night to a few weeks.
These schemes can help if you suddenly become homeless because you've been asked to leave your family home or had to leave because of family problems, or recently left a hostel or other temporary accommodation.
Nightstop schemes are typically run by charities and coordinated by the national charity Depaul UK, which sets standards for the schemes.
There are about 40 Nightstop schemes in the UK, but not in every area.
Crashpad schemes or Supported Lodgings schemes run by other charities or local councils can also provide emergency short-term help. The schemes check and approve the hosts to make sure they are safe places to stay.
A scheme won't usually be able to help if you have a recent history of violence, arson or sexual offences, or a serious criminal record. It might not be able to help if you have health or other issues that they can't support. However, there may be other agencies who can help you.
Find a Nightstop place
Find out if there is a Nightstop scheme in your area by checking for schemes on Nightstop UK.
Search for Nightstop and other similar schemes on Homeless England.
Helplines can provide information about Nightstop and other schemes in your area:
- Shelter's helpline – 0808 800 4444 (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm at weekends).
- Get connected – 0808 808 4994 (1pm to 11pm daily)
Other sources of help include the following:
- a council housing options or housing advice service – check Gov.uk for details of your local council
- you may be entitled to help from your local council if you're a homeless young person aged 16 or 17 and have no adult to look after you
- an advice service or day centre for young people – use Homeless England to find local advice and support
- a Shelter advice centre, Citizens Advice or other advice agency – use our directory to find one
Many of these organisations can tell you how to get referred to a scheme, advise you on your longer-term options or on other help that may be available in your area if you can't get a place to stay through a Nightstop or similar scheme.
The information you give to any of these organisations is usually just between you and the person you speak to. They won't tell anyone else unless you agree to it or you are in danger.
What to expect when using a Nightstop scheme
When you are referred to a Nightstop or emergency housing scheme, you are asked about yourself and your situation.
If the scheme finds you a place to stay, you get a room to yourself, the chance to have a bath or shower, wash your clothes, have an evening meal and breakfast the following morning. You also have the company and support of your host.
You may be able to stay for a few days to a week or more, but sometimes the stay is just for one night. Each Nightstop scheme has a pool of volunteers, so you may have to move from the home of one volunteer to the home of another. The Nightstop scheme arranges this. During the day, you are not usually allowed to stay in the volunteers' home or leave your bag or belongings there.
Nightstop and similar schemes usually work with you to find longer-term solutions to your housing problems. This may include helping you and your family sort out your difficulties through family mediation or finding you a place in a hostel or foyer for young people.