A YORK support service has celebrated its second anniversary with a perfect score in helping young people find and keep their new homes.

Howe Hill Hostel, which has 23 beds, has ensured 25 homeless 16 to 21-year-olds take on and maintain their own tenancies through an education and resettlement programme which teaches them independent living skills and how to prepare for work, cook and organise a budget.

Every young person supported into a tenancy by the Acomb Road-based, City of York Council-run hostel is succeeding with it. It has so far welcomed 133 people, 63 of whom have moved on to more permanent accommodation, and provided 466 nights of emergency shelter for 124 more.

Among those it has helped is Samantha Bodden, 20, from York, who is now in her own flat and hoping to work with horses, with her dream being to become a showjumper. “Before I came here, I would have not have been able to hold down a tenancy and organise my own budget – it has taught me the life skills I needed,” she said.

“It makes you realise going to the cinema or buying an energy drink or cigarettes is not as important as paying bills.

“Now I say ‘I’m going to do this’ rather than asking ‘what’s the point?’. My confidence has gone up a lot, and that’s down to the support I’ve had through this programme.”

Scott Lyons, 19, of Harrogate, had family and drug issues before coming to Howe Hill, but is now doing voluntary work and courses with York Mind.

He said: “The hostel has made a massive difference to my life – now I see the point of getting up in the morning.

“It’s hard work, you have to be willing to see that your life can change, but now I have a positive outlook where it used to be all doom and gloom.”

Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, the council’s cabinet member for health, housing and adult social care, said: “The work by the team at Howe Hill over the last two years has really changed vulnerable young people’s lives for the better.

“They gain the life skills, training and confidence needed to move forward into independent lives and are less likely to depend on costly services. I’m so proud of what the hostel and its tenants have achieved.”