Although a high proportion of rough sleepers are single men, there are times when, despite all the odds, people form relationships whilst on the streets. From experience, working with couples can be very challenging. It is the responsibility of an outreach worker to undertake an assessment for each individual and ensure each persons needs are fully understood. However, at no stage of the assessment process is the relationship status of an individual considered. A joint plan must be decided between the couple with regards to accommodation. This is all achievable until a search for hostels is undertaken and it becomes evident that there are only a handful of places in the country that take couples and when they do, there is never a guarantee that two beds are available on the same day.
Why are there so few hostels willing to accept couples? Is it the complicated nature of clients being in relationships, or is it all about housing benefits, bed spaces and allocations?
What are the other options for couples if there aren’t any suitable facilities in their area? Should homeless couples be forced to either sleep on the streets until they can access local authority housing (if they are entitled to it), or end their relationship?