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28th May 2022
Michael Newey of Broadland Housing Association left and John Lee of the YMCA sm

An innovative project which is helping young vulnerable homeless people establish themselves in their first homes has received a £2616 boost after a hardy bunch of volunteers from Broadland Housing Association and the YMCA spent a wet and cold night sleeping in the car park of the YMCA Community Hub in Norwich.

Around 30 volunteers 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.

Broadland Housing Association chief executive Michael Newey returned to the Community Hub to present the money to YMCA chief executive John Lee – both were among the volunteers sleeping out for the night.

Mr Newey, who was joined by nine Broadland Housing staff for the sleepout, said, “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 help them delivery their first Housing First project.”

Mr Lee said, “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.”

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.