84 year-old Laurence Smith has retired from being a Supported Lodgings Host after seven years of helping young people. He gave a safe and loving home to those facing homelessness and we can’t thank him enough for his kindness and compassion.
Laurence’s interest in supporting young people goes back to the 1990s. On his regular commute by train, Laurence got talking to a young man and they became friends. The young man confided that he was unhappy at home and his family life was unstable. When the young man eventually became homeless, Laurence offered him a place to live.
The young man stayed for 17 years. When he eventually moved out, Laurence decided he wanted to help another young person. He saw an advert asking for Supported Lodgings Hosts and was put in touch with Step by Step.
Over the following seven years, Laurence had numerous young people come to live with him, offering them not just a room in his home, but safety, stability and someone to talk to. Each young person stayed until they were ready to move on, at which point Laurence supported the next young person needing his help.
“The best thing about being a host is being able to help people,” Laurence told us. “I’ve been fortunate in life and I can’t imagine what it’s like for those not as fortunate as me. I wanted to provide a place that was safe and loving.”
Most of the young people Laurence supported have stayed in touch and he enjoys receiving updates on how they are getting on. One of these – the young man who he supported for 17 years – told Laurence: “Everything I am in life, I owe to you.”
Even today, Laurence gets emotional when he recalls the start of his journey supporting young people and the many lives he has transformed along the way.
If you are interested in becoming a Host for Step by Step, please visit our Supported Lodgings page.