Only a small percentage of homeless people sleep rough and local authorities only have a duty to house those who meet the strict criteria. Many other single homeless people stay in hostels all over the country - there are currently 38,534 bed spaces in hostels, the number used to be higher but because of cuts there has been a decrease over the past years, for single homeless people in England alone.
Whilst homeless people of all ages use hostels, the type of hostel used depends to a great extent on what is provided locally. There are hostels that are aimed at rough sleepers, young people, women, or heavy drinkers, while others are general hostels for people of all ages and problems.
Some hostels are ‘direct-access' or ‘first stage' accommodation, which one might use after being referred by a day centre or outreach team. Some people stay until they are resettled in more permanent accommodation or referred to specialist schemes, for people with mental health or substance misuse problems, for example. These specialist schemes are known as ‘second stage' accommodation projects and focus more on rehabilitation and resettlement.