Support us Become a host Due to the current situation, we are not able to undertake the required visits and vetting processes in order to assess new Hosts. We are still accepting new applications but please note that we will not be progressing new applicants until the lockdown is over, so there may be a delay in someone getting back to you. If you're interested in becoming a Host, please email [email protected] for an application form. Thank you so much for your interest and offer of support during this time. akt supports young LGBTQ+ people in crisis. Every day we deal with the effects homelessness can have on young people's lives. We're looking for hosts in London, Greater Manchester and the North East. We offer young people a range of accommodation options dependent on their needs and what is available. Our Host Programme is one of the ways in which we can offer support to a young person who has no safe place to live. Here are a few of the tasks and responsibilities involved in being a host: Have a young person live in your home for anything from a few days to 18 months* Provide a safe environment with advice, guidance and support Attend regular training, supervision and reviews to help ensure that placements are successful and any issues are identified early on Hosts should meet the following criteria: Be over 25 years old Have a spare room in your home Be willing to undergo an assessment which will take several months and involve a series of meetings Be able to commit to being a host for at least two years (from approval)* Have the ability to communicate confidently and clearly with young people, other volunteers and members of staff Have some knowledge of the issues relating to LGBTQ+ young people Have some experience of working with vulnerable people Support for hosts Hosts receive the following support: Structured induction and training Ongoing support from your supervisor Access to further training Travel and other reasonable expenses reimbursed * The length of host placements can vary dependent on the availability of the host and the needs of the young person. Placements can range from a weekend up to 18 months. If you’re interested but can’t commit to a longer placement please do still get in touch. Some of our hosts offer respite to other hosts and have a young person stay with them for a short period to allow a break in an ongoing placement so the host can go on a short holiday, for example. Go to our host FAQs We would like applications from all sections of the community and we especially encourage those who identfiy as BAME and/or trans to apply. Do I have to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans? We are looking for hosts who have a positive identity and can be positive role models - something that young people may have lacked. As long as you can demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of LGBTQ+ culture and history and you meet the competencies, it isn’t necessary for you to be LGBTQ+. How old do I need to be to be a host? At least 25 years old. Do I have to have my own house? Hosts must live in their own independent flat/house but this can be rented, owned or mortgaged. It is more important that the accommodation is secure, this includes letting the landlord know if it is a requirement of you being there. I have a criminal conviction, will this stop me from becoming a host? Criminal convictions and cautions are not necessarily a barrier, but not disclosing them, however long ago, would mean that an application would be rejected. The Services Manager will discuss this with you on an individual basis. How will I be assessed? Each applicant will be required to complete an application form. If we are happy to proceed, a visit will be arranged, to conduct a health and safety check on your home. We will need to look around your entire home. This visit will usually take about 45 minutes. Following this you will be required to complete set tasks and we will meet to talk about these so they can help us to assess your suitability and motivation to become a host. These visits may take up to two hours. We will ask for professional, personal (we will need to meet face to face with the referees too) and medical references and you will be required to attend two days’ training. At the end a report will be completed which will be presented to a panel who will consider the recommendations made within the report to ascertain whether approval will be given/more assessment needs to take place, or the recommendation is declined. Any concerns or anxieties can be discussed, and the process can end at any point if either party believes it is not in their best interests to continue. If we are a couple, does one or both of us apply? Both of you will need to apply. You should be in a stable relationship and have lived together for at least 18 months before you could go to panel. Although, most of the assessment will be conducted jointly, we will need to meet with you at least once individually. Will I need to have a DBS (police record) check? Yes, both you and anyone living in your home over the age of 16, will need to have a DBS check carried out by akt. What are the ‘competencies’? The competencies are a set of standards which must be met in order to become a host for young people. They include, for example, the ability to communicate with young people and being able to set appropriate boundaries. These are detailed in a separate document that will be provided to you. Who can supply my references? Ideally your professional reference should be from your line manager, although we do accept that in some cases this might not be possible and that a colleague might be best placed to provide one. If you don’t work, it could be from a previous employer or from an educational establishment. Your personal reference should be from someone (who is not related to you) who you have known for at least two years and can comment on your ability to support a young person in your home. Sometimes we will ask for another reference if we are unable to ascertain the information we need. We will also ask for a medical reference from your GP. The information we request will be that which is relevant to carrying out the role of a host. Do I need to have experience of working with young people? Direct experience of working with young people would be extremely helpful and could include caring for younger siblings or babysitting, it could be supporting younger people through work. What is important is that you have an understanding of some of the issues that young LGBTQ+ people have. Can I be a host if I have children, in a relationship, have a lodger etc? Hosts and their households come in all shapes and sizes. akt want a safe and secure environment for their young people and people residing in your home will form part of the assessment. If you have children at home, we want to know that you would be able to support a young person in your home, as well as caring for your own children and we would also want to ensure that the welfare of your children is considered. Anyone else living in your home would be spoken to separately as part of the assessment. Who else do you involve in the assessment? All frequent visitors to your home who may have access when you’re not around. This may include partners and relatives who are staying with you. How long do the placements last? It varies. It could be for a few weeks or up to 2 years. This depends on the young person’s needs and whether the placement is suitable. Regular reviews will take place to ensure that the placement is suitable for both parties. What age are the young people who akt place? The majority of young people placed into supported lodgings are 16-21, although we may place young people up to the age of 25 year old. What kind of support/training will I receive? You will receive two days initial training. After approval, ongoing training will be provided alongside other volunteers. We encourage peer support among hosts and will help to facilitate this. Reviews of the placement will take place after 6 weeks and then every 3 months. You may contact the office when you wish, during the hours of 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday. Is there financial assistance? Yes, our hosts are provided with a contribution which should cover the expenses of having a young person to stay with you. This amount is currently £16.54 per night and covers increased utility costs, household expenses for broadband, insurance, wear and tear of communal areas and also includes basic provision of food, laundry and cleaning. Young people may apply for financial assistance through akt for bedding and towels. Can I live outside London, Manchester or Newcastle? Support by akt workers to support any placement is important. For this reason we are usually only able to support placements within easy reach and a reasonable distance to our offices. This will usually be up to an hour but may vary depending on what other placements we are supporting. Young people often prefer living in a semi/urban area, with access to a range of community resources. Any other questions? If you have any questions that you would like to discuss before making an application, please do not hesitate to contact the office nearest to you and ask to speak to the Services Manager.