DePaul – Nightstop

We partnered with Depaul, a homelessness charity to tech-enable their program Nightstop, to better provide young people in crisis with a safe place to stay

Social Finance Digital Labs supported a proposal in partnership with Depaul UK into Comic Relief and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Tech for Good competition. Their aim is to provide up to £500k of funding to support the development of 10 projects which use technology innovatively to improve social outcomes.

Youth homelessness is usually much more than not having somewhere to sleep. There are many reasons a young person can become homeless including an unsafe home environment, family breakdown and mental health issues. More than 150,000 young people ask for help with homelessness every year – no young person should have to sleep in an unsafe place.

Why we are doing this: 

Depaul UK are a youth homelessness charity with a mission to eradicate homelessness. Their Nightstop service matches volunteer host to young people in a moment of crisis.

  • Depaul places young people in volunteers’ homes, however in 2015 they turned away young people over 800 times because of a lack of available hosts.
  • Currently volunteers sign up to a paper based rota, to agree to the nights they are willing to host. Staff spend time processing them, often not having enough time to analyse gaps and ensure a sufficient number of hosts are available each evening. Similarly staff don’t always know which hosts to contact when a young person turns up, and there are no more available hosts.
What we are doing: 

Social Finance worked to provide staff with the tools to improve volunteer management. The Digital Labs team developed an app to remove existing bureaucracy, ensuring staff could focus on working with young people rather than on chasing potential hosts required for a last minute referral, and will provide vital intelligence and data on volunteer availability.

The Nightstop app does the following:

  1. Allows hosts to update & change their availability in real-time, this in turn provides Nightstop with data on overall availability each night by area enabling better management of the service.
  2. Includes a messaging function for Nightstop to contact hosts easily.
  3. Allows hosts to record their choice to be contacted if there’s an emergency referral, ensuring quick and effective placement of the young person.

Ultimately, the Nightstop app has helped Depaul better manage supply to ensure they do not have to turn young people away in their moment of crisis.


Comic Relief
DePaul UK
Paul Hamlyn Foundation


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