A CRADLEY councillor is opening his home to homeless teenagers to back a YMCA scheme to prevent youngsters living on the streets.

Country and Western fan Councillor Richard Body will also be on hand to teach the youngsters a thing or two about Johnny Cash during their stay.

Cllr Body is taking part in YMCA’s Supported Lodgings scheme which is appealing for caring families offer up their spare room for a young person in need.

He said: "There is a desperate need to offer young adults a safe place to live in the borough, both on a short and long term basis.

"Due to recent government budget cuts to local authorities, the situation has grown worse."

“After learning about the project and reading the experiences of existing Hosts in Dudley, I discussed the idea with my wife and we thought, “why not?”

He added: "Having raised two sons who are now grown adults and being a councillor for Cradley and Wollescote for the past 10 years, I have a small understanding that not every young person has the luxury of a loving and stable home; we wanted to be part of the solution to ending youth homelessness."

And showing youngsters the dynamics of a family is something which is also important in the YMCA Supported Lodgings project.

Cllr Body, who is a big fan of Americana and has dressed up as Johnny Cash to raise money for charity, said: "I'm really looking forward to welcoming our first youngster into our home."

Rachael Taylor, YMCA host co-ordinator said, “YMCA are really pleased to have Councillor Body on board with our project; we want more people to think ‘Why not?’ about offering their spare room to vulnerable young people.

"There’s a lot of stigma attached to homeless teenagers and we’re hoping with Richard’s help, we can start to break that in the Black Country.”

The YMCA runs preparation courses where existing hosts and residents who have benefitted from the support they have received discuss the scheme.

For more information on YMCA’s Open Door project, should contact Rachael Taylor on 0121 524 1974 or email rachael.taylor@ymcabc.org.uk.