Family-of-three from North London welcome young homeless people into their home and help keep them safe from violence. 

Katy Moyle and her husband Will are both in their early thirties and live with their toddler, Zac in a terraced house in London. They bought the house together in 2020. Katy works in advertising, and Will works as a data analyst. 

Before moving into their home, the couple lived in New York from 2015 and moved back to the UK in 2019. When they arrived, Katy was struck by the amount of visible homelessness there was on the streets as she walked to and from her office and the railway station.  

During lockdown, Katy admits that she couldn’t stop thinking about the people behind the statistics found online. As she looked around her new home she said she felt really lucky, but wondered what people without a roof over their heads were doing at that point. She felt compelled to help, and from a Google search done in the late hours of the night, she found out about Nightstop. It seemed like the perfect solution, as it offered the couple a safe, secure and manageable way of opening up their space to help others. They’ve now been Nightstop hosts for two years helping vulnerable young people who otherwise would have faced a night on the street.  

Katy said: “We began hosting a couple of years ago, and stopped for a short while when I was eight months pregnant with Zac. We started to host again when Zac was around six-months old. That’s one of the best things about hosting with Nightstop, it’s a really flexible way to volunteer in the comfort of your home.  

“I found Nightstop on Google, and it seemed like a really safe and secure way of helping young people who need it the most. After we did the training, everything about how safe it is was confirmed. Things are very clear, and tightly controlled so both us, as hosts, and the person who comes to stay always understand what the boundaries are. 

“It’s always clear to us and guest when they have to leave, and the Nightstop staff are on hand 24/7 if we have any issues or concerns. We’ve always enjoyed having people come to stay, and overall it’s been a very positive experience for us, and hopefully our guests as well.  

“Everyone has a different personality, and it must be extremely mentally and emotionally draining to be moving around the whole time, but I always try to give the people who we host some space when they arrive and am led by what they want to do – socialise with us, or stay in their room. We make it clear they’re welcome to stay downstairs and watch TV with us, but often, they’ll often go to their room to study, or chill and we will all have dinner when the baby goes to bed. After dinner, we usually have a good chat over the dishes, but I’m mindful to never put any pressure on anyone. We just provide a decent structure to the evening and share our routine for the next morning to try to make them feel secure and aware of what to expect.  

“One of the nicest things about hosting, is the amount of attention and engagement Zac gets and joy that he brings to the guests, who also love to be around him. Within 10 minutes of turning up, he’s usually charmed even the quietest and shyest guest, and they’ll be on the floor playing with him and his blocks. 

“A lot of women who have stayed here have worked as nannies at various points, so that can really help break the ice – they’re wonderful with him. He’s started to bring the guests shoes to the door when they leave, which is really sweet as he’s getting used to having lots of different people around at various points, just like me growing up. We had a pretty open-door policy and I think it’s great for social development. 

“Some of our friends wonder how we manage everything, a house, busy and full-on jobs and looking after a small child, but it’s really not that difficult, and you get into a rhythm. On a practical level, we know which days we will be able to host each month, so I’ll pick them up a sandwich on the way home for when they arrive, and there’s always food in the freezer.  

“It might seem odd but hosting seems to reduce the stress of everything else going on in our lives, it’s a huge reality check twice a month, and puts things into perspective. 

“Put it this way, it’s pretty hard to get stressed about a piece of work I’m doing when someone has just told me about their emergency flight from a war-torn country, and how they’ve not slept or eaten properly for days. 

“Selfishly, we really get a lot out of hosting. Once, we had a guy stay with us, who found out about Nightstop a week after eviction. He was sleeping rough. When he arrived, he was so stressed he couldn’t eat. After a couple of hours in his room and a hot shower, he came down and you could physically see that some of the tension had lifted. I know that it doesn’t take very long for someone sleeping rough to hit an all-time low, and it only takes a couple of nights until they’re likely to be exposed to sexual assault, be physically abused, or become a victim of crime, if I can play any part in stopping this from happening to a young person, at very little cost to myself, then it’s a no brainer.  

“Nightstop is a turning point, it bridges the gap, and makes a huge difference. We all know that other services have been stripped back, and times are tough so more people can fall through the cracks, so it’s good to know we can help in some way. I like to know that they know there are people who care, without any strings attached.”