My name is Emily and I am 17 years old. When I was 16 my living circumstances weren’t the best. I was sharing a room with my 5 year old brother, arguing a lot with my parents and had an intense relationship with my mum. I went to the council when my mum kicked me out of the house.
I was assigned a housing officer who did a homeless assessment. They contacted the Rock Trust about Nightstop because of my age. They didn’t want me to be put in a B&B because of my mental health. One of the Rock Trust workers, Matthew, came to meet me. He was nice. He did some paperwork with me, and then took me back to the Rock Trust where I was given snacks, toiletries, bus vouchers and a phone top-up. I was told if I didn’t want to stay with a Nightstop host it was my choice.
We went in the car to one of the host’s homes. They were really welcoming. I was offered a cup of tea, shown where my room would be and the rest of the house. They said to help myself if I was hungry. Then they went out of the room so I could talk to Matthew. I told him that I liked it there and wanted to stay.
I won’t lie, when Matthew left I felt anxious and had to stay in the bedroom for a while. The hosts knocked on my door and asked if I was hungry, and if I wanted to eat in my room or with them. I went and sat at the table. They had good banter. It was good. I tried to help them cleaning up but they said no and for me to sit and rest.
I had a bath and then my host came and spoke to me before I went to bed. They knew I was missing home.
I stayed 4 nights before going home. While I was there I realised that I’m my own person and needed to stop doing everything for everyone else. I realised that talking to good people makes you feel better and that I wasn’t such a mess up as I thought I was. When I went back home I started to break away from my Mum and be a daughter instead of her best friend. Nightstop helped me see that I am my brother’s sister not his mum.
When things got hard with my mum again I stayed with another host for a couple of nights. Speaking to them helped me gain some perspective again and remember that I had to think about myself and be selfish if my relationship with my mum was going to survive.
I am back at home now. I met up with the Rock Trust again and they helped me to get a job which I still have. I am now looking for my own place to live and still keep in touch with my project worker at the Rock Trust.
What will you do to end homelessness?
The Edinburgh and West Lothian Nightstop service, delivered by Scottish youth homelessness charity Rock Trust, provides young people between the ages of 16 and 25 years with emergency accommodation for up to 2 weeks in the homes of approved volunteers (known as Nightstop Hosts).
Rock Trust was set up by churches. Early in 1990, it was discovered that homeless young people had been sleeping rough in the graveyard of St. Cuthbert’s Church, Edinburgh. The Council of West End Churches (St Cuthbert’s, St John’s and St Andrew’s and St George’s) was shocked by this harsh reality and moved to action. The Council at the time owned a flat occupied by friars, members of the Society of St. Francis. One of them, Brother Basil, set out to publicise the issue of youth homelessness and raise funds. His energy turned an ambition into reality, and in 1991 The Rock Trust was formed. How will your church respond?
What will you do as an individual? Could you be a volunteer Nightstop Host? Rock Trust are currently recruiting Hosts in Edinburgh and West Lothian. You can find out more here. Or if you live elsewhere, find out about your local Nightstop provider here.
With thanks to Emily, Rock Trust, and their Fundraising and Communications Manager Madeline Cross.