Man from Dorchester says he was facing life on the streets before he was taken in by strangers

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A young man from Dorchester says both his physical and mental health were deteriorating as he faced a life on the streets - before a charity put a roof over his head.

Emlyn Goodwin was helped by Dorset Nightstop, who put him into temporary accomodation with a host family. The charity behind the scheme says it's now in need of more volunteers than ever because of the cost of living crisis.

Emlyn found himself facing homelessness when his life took an unexpected turn.

He feared for his safety, but he was helped by Dorset Nightstop - a charity scheme that helps young people by housing them with volunteer hosts.

Emlyn Goodwin turned to Dorset Nightstop, who helped him find him a family to stay with

For Emlyn, staying with strangers was a little daunting at first, but it was the sanctuary he needed.

He said: "Once I put it together in my head that 'oh yeah, you won't be on the streets anymore, you won't have to scrounge for food', any forthcoming worries that I did have just immediately just turned to bliss.

"I just wasn't worried about that at all, I was just happy to get in a bed, happy to have four walls around me.

"My type one diabetes was deteriorating, my mental health was deteriorating, my relationship with my daughter was deteriorating.

"It was coming to a point where my life was crashing around me.

"Nightstop gave that little bit of leeway, that little bit of relief, just enough to help me claw my way out of that little pit I had fallen into."

Heather and Kelvin have been opening up their home to young people facing homelessness for a decade

Volunteers like Heather and Kelvin help people in Emelyn's situation. They have been volunteer hosts for ten years. Taking in young people who otherwise might be homeless until the council and other services can find them something more long term.

Heather said "We provide them with a room of their own, access to washing facilities, we give them a hot meal, a packed lunch if they want one, we transport them to and from work and college if they need to - and a listening ear if they want to just sit and chat."

Kelvin added "We've had over a hundred young people that we've hosted. We've never had any issues with them. Most of them just want to get back to normal - they want to go to collage and school and carry on as they were used to.

As the cost of living crisis continues to have an impact on people's lives, the couple say they have noticed more young people seem to be in need of their help.

Kelvin said: "The world has changed now. We've got our fifteenth person this year and it's only October, so that gives you an idea of how the situation is escalating."

The scheme is ran by Action for Children. They say more hosts than ever are needed and they are urging volunteers to come forward if they think they've got room to spare.

Simon Keys from the charity said "We're still suffering the effects of post-covid, the financial crisis, cost of living crisis - it's just created a perfect storm really.

"It looks to me like it's going to get worse before it gets better, unfortunately, which is why we're desperate for more hosts. The more host families we have, the more opportunity we have to place everyone that's everyone that's deemed appropriate for our service.

More information about Dorset Nightstop, including how to become a volunteer host, can be found on the Action for Children website.