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Youth homelessness charity, Depaul UK has seen a 21 percent rise in referrals to its emergency accommodation Nightstop this year– a trend reflected in South Yorkshire.

  In the first half of this year, Depaul Nightstop services have seen an increase in demand by over 300 referrals to reach more than 1,400 compared to the same period in 2016.

  The local Nightstop service in South Yorkshire, which opened in 2016 with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, has also noticed an increase in demand as young people become more aware of its presence in the local community.

  The network, which provides a safety net for young people with nowhere else to go, places them in the home of a vetted and trained volunteer for the night.

  One young person recently supported by Depaul said, “I used Nightstop for a couple of months and I felt safe.  They DBS-check all the people you stay with and you’re invited into a family home for the night.  The families go to great lengths to make you feel at home.”

  Amy Smith, Manager of Nightstop South Yorkshire, is now concerned for young people as temperatures drop this winter.  She is worried demand for the service will increase as the Christmas period draws to a close.  She said, “One of the busiest periods is post-Christmas.  People try to patch things up in this season and then things start to go wrong.  The week between Christmas and New Year can be particularly difficult.”

  Depaul UK is calling on Hallam Catholics to support young people affected by homelessness this Christmas.  For more information about giving a donation or becoming a Nightstop host, email NightstopUK@depaulcharity.org.uk.

  Depaul UK Chief Executive Martin Houghton-Brown said, “Nightstop has helped thousands of young people with nowhere safe to sleep, providing more than 12,000 bed-nights last year alone.  Your generosity makes this possible and, with an increasing need for our emergency accommodation service, your donations are more vital than ever.”

  Depaul UK was founded by the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Daughters of Charity and the Vincentian Fathers with the support and encouragement of Cardinal Basil Hume, then Archbishop of Westminster in 1989.