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Our red sofa continues its tour around the famous buildings and landmarks of London, with the latest stop being none other than the British Library.

Visitors to the library were engaged by our young people who stewarded the exhibition each day. They explained that while homelessness is often thought of as rough sleeping, 76% of young people supported by NHYC are sofa-surfing with friends, colleagues or strangers who may be exploiting them. 

That’s why we’ve been using a sofa to symbolise the thousands of 16-21 year olds with nowhere to live, across London and the UK. British Library staff couldn't have been more supportive of our unorthodox exhibition, helping us draw attention to the cause throughout the week.

As a very special bonus, we were honoured to meet the US librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden on her official visit to the UK. Dr. Hayden is both the first woman and the first person of colour to lead the world's largest library, having been nominated for the role in 2016 by President Obama.

Chatting with NHYC staff on our red sofa Dr. Hayden asked questions about our work and shared her experiences of homeless young people in the US, for whom public libraries are a safe place to escape their situation during the day. She also introduced us to her mother, who was joining her on the trip and who set up the first city-funded women’s shelter in Chicago.

Many people sat down to take photos and selfies on the sofa which they posted to social media with the hashtag #sofachange, and a large number (including Dr. Hayden) made donations to help NHYC in its mission to provide life-changing support to homeless young people.

Huge thanks to the British Library and be sure to keep an eye out for next stop on the tour, coming very soon!

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