Homelessness is a bigger and more complex problem than the visible, countable numbers of those sleeping rough. Sofa-surfing (the hidden homeless) is estimated to be 13 times bigger, according to London data. And it’s a growing problem.
The risks that come with rough-sleeping or sofa-surfing include physical and verbal abuse, mental and physical health issues and vulnerability to coercion and sexual exploitation. Research by our parent charity De Paul suggests that 12% of sofa-surfers engaged in sexual activity in exchange for a place to stay.
Confidence and belief are important ingredients in a person’s ability to maintain the good stuff in their life, seize new opportunities and bring about positive change for themselves. Becoming homeless can erode that, but the respite we provide is pivotal in changing gear, feeling hopeful and building futures.
“NIGHTSTOP SAVED MY LIFE. YOU GAVE ME HOPE AND HELPED ME FEEL NORMAL AGAIN."
Making a difference since 2009
Every day for over 12 years, Sussex Nightstop has been driven by the fact that every night someone stays with one of our hosts is a night they are not vulnerable to the significant risks of rough-sleeping or sofa-surfing.
Our volunteers have provided over 3,800 safe bed nights to 475 vulnerable people and in one year they dedicated 7,534 hours of their time – a living wage equivalent of £61,854.
“WHEN PEOPLE HAVE EXPERIENCED MARGINALISATION OR HARM, IT’S SO REWARDING TO SEE THEM FEEL SAFE…”
How Nightstop works
Aside from meeting basic needs, (a hot meal, a warm, private room and the head space that homely comforts free up) our hosts remind people at the most desperate of times that people care. They choose to open their door. They choose to be there. Confidence and belief are important ingredients in a person’s ability to maintain the good stuff in their life, seize new opportunities and bring about positive change for themselves.
While guests recuperate in these safe spaces, our support co-ordinator connects them with local services, including housing advisors, to help them find safe and suitable accommodation. We also operate an on-call service to support both guests and hosts.
At Sussex Nightstop the safety and wellbeing of our young people and those involved in making our service happen is key. We use our organisational policies to ensure that we achieve the highest standard in this area. We believe that everyone should be able to live free from harm and adopt a zero tolerance to abuse. We encourage anyone who has experience or witnessed harm or abuse to talk to us. Our Safeguarding Policy outlines our approach in this area.
"KINDNESS – VOLUNTARILY GIVEN – IS PROFOUND IN ITS IMPACT."
The Allsorts Safer Spaces Award 2021
Sussex Nightstop was also a finalist in the BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey Community Heroes Awards – volunteer category 2016
Nightstop Quality Standard, Depaul UK 2021
Nightstop builds community connections
Our 70 strong volunteer team operates across a range of roles. In one year they dedicated 7,534 hours of their time – a living wage equivalent of £61,854. Their amazing work makes a difference to our volunteers too – they tell us that they get a huge sense of satisfaction from their role, feel more knowledgeable about homelessness and feel it has broadened their perspective on life, giving a new sense of purpose and meaning.