The role of hostels has come under the spotlight in recent months. The review into the future funding of supported housing has required Government and the sector to appraise how hostels are working across the country to help end people’s homelessness. Many of our members provide valuable hostel-based services that help people recover from homelessness. Providing much more than just a roof, hostels have come to play a key role in both delivering and coordinating the wide range of support an individual might need to leave their homelessness behind. The recognition of this, and calls to protect hostels within the discussions about the future funding of supported housing have made clear the need to ensure hostels can continue to make these vital contributions.
But there have also been many questions raised. How do we know, for example, that hostels really make a difference? Compared to approaches like Housing First which has an excellent international evidence base, there is limited data and research about hostels. The term itself is problematic – ‘hostels’ have changed considerably over recent years, and there is incredible diversity amongst provision. As we look to future solutions to ending homelessness, it’s important we understand how hostels can be effective, the outcomes they achieve, and what enables them to make a positive difference to people’s lives.
Our report, the Future Hostel, attempts to answer some of these questions. It draws on findings from ten in-depth case studies of hostels across England and analyses data from Homeless Link’s online database of homelessness services. It explores the range of approaches and interventions that are covered by the term “hostels,” and focuses on key principles, learning points, and best practice. Read the Future Hostel report.