Community Spark: SASH – preventing youth homelessness

I walk past SASH regularly on my way into town and see that they ‘prevent youth homelessness’ but have never really understand how, so it was a real pleasure to get an email from them inviting me along for a chat.

SASH stands for ‘Safe and Sound Homes’ and for over 25 years they have been working with volunteers in the community to provide just that. They help vulnerable young people, aged between 16 – 25, avoid homelessness by finding them a room in the home of a volunteer host, for anything between one night and two years, depending on the individual’s needs.

Ruth and Gary from SASH are passionate about what they do.

They were keen to point out to me that young people who find themselves homeless are rarely that stereotypical picture people have of someone in a doorway with a dog and a cap in hand. They look and act just like every other young person around, they just happen to have had an unfortunate circumstance, family breakdown for example, which sees them unable to live in their previous environment.

SASH amazingly, can turn around a referral pretty easily. So if a young person arrives at school, for example, and says that they have been ‘kicked’ out of home, with their great network of volunteer hosts SASH can often match people up in as little as half an hour.

Helping over 300 young people a year, from all around the region SASH not only houses them, but they also help them build up their life and work skills. In fact before they leave SASH, all young people are either in education, training or employment and they leave with a renewed sense of confidence and self worth.

This comes from some fantastic programs in place run by the energetic Project Coordinator Gary. One of these is ‘Enable’ a scheme designed to bring together people who are no longer able to do certain jobs around the home with young people at SASH who are keen to help and want to learn new skills which they ultimately will find useful when they move into their own place.

Their first project saw three young people help redecorate the home of Nora, an 89 year old York resident who was delighted with the result.  More recently, in just a single day, a full team of young people from SASH transformed a piece of land at York House, part of the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust into a sensory garden for the centre’s service users to enjoy.

Forging new friendships and being involved in their local community is another plus to this skill and confidence building scheme.

I came away from SASH in awe of the service they provide and the level of enthusiasm they have to make such a difference in many people’s lives.

SASH always welcome new volunteer hosts and are really happy to talk you through the process and, of course, provide full training.

And if there are any businesses out there that want to choose SASH as their nominated charity, raising money for the organisation through challenge events, for example, they would love to hear from you! You will find all you need to know directly at or give them a call on 01904 652043

Gary Hogg SASH Active/Project Co-ordinator


Get in touch

As ever, if you’re a not-for-profit organisation in York, a social enterprise, or you know of any amazing small organisations, please drop us a line. We want Spark:York to be for everyone, and we want to use our profile in the city to support other organisations.

Likewise, if you work for a business in the city, who is currently doing (or would like to do) good things – get in touch. We would love to help!

Bec Horner
Community Outreach, Spark:York CIC
07854 519 056

Spark:York’s Communities and Partnership work is kindly supported by Rank Foundation