Access & Referrals

The essential criteria to access our services are outlined below.


Must be aged 18 years or above; and b. have identification (or provide a reasonable expectation that it can be obtained) to show proof of; i. Social security benefits (for example a letter from the Job Centre) ii. Identify (for example your National Insurance card or a passport or driving licence).

We accept people with; a. Addictions (drug, alcohol, gambling for example) and we operate a risk reduction approach that encourages access to treatment. This is a dry hostel.

In pre-agreed circumstances; We could accept people who do not have recourse to Public Funds and who therefore cannot claim benefits. They require liaison and discussion between a referral agency and St Paul’s Staff before a Service Referral is made. A Senior Manager makes every decision in these cases. The authority to decide is never delegated. Small pets such as snakes, canaries and gold fish can be brought but we must agree this before we accept into Service. This is because we must be certain they will be adequately cared for.

In very exceptional circumstances and only after we have considered the risks to others and our buildings and implemented appropriate measures to reduce the risk of harm then we may consider; a. Allowing dogs. b. People who have been convicted of arson or have attempted arson. We do not ever accommodate females after their 5th month of pregnancy but will work with Local Housing Teams to provide alternative accommodation.

There is no requirement to have a local connection with Worcestershire to access our hostel but this may constrain your options to Service Exit and move into a locally provided social housing.

How to make a referral and time frames

A Service Referral is the term we use to describe the process to access to our services.

Normally we require a Service Referral form that contains information about the potential resident and this is completed by one of many partners in the County. For example, the local Drugs & Alcohol Service provider, Local Authority Housing Teams, Magg’s Day Centre or Probation Services. The details are sent to our staff by secure email. We aim to process all Service Referrals quickly, with a target of less than 72 hours. It is not usually possible to access the hostel directly (known as ‘direct access’) and move into our service’s straight way. We must assess risks to others and evaluate how the new person may change the dynamics of the hostel community.

Where there is a risk to life, serious harm or deterioration of health then we will always seek to short cut the Service Referral process to provide ‘direct access’ but we may have to put in place measures to mitigate risk. Where risks are deemed too high the on shift staff will liaise with on-call housing teams to keep people safe. Staff always keep records of anyone who tries to access the hostel directly in order to influence the development of services in the county.

The hostel is not insured for occupants who have either a conviction for arson or attempted arson. Therefore, the hostel insurers are to be approached and necessary information about the person disclosed so that additional insurance might be purchased.

We use pre-Service Acceptance meetings in cases where a person has been referred to access but their individual situation requires a more thorough assessment. It may be they have particular criminal convictions or support needs. These meetings, normally held at the hostel, are attended by several staff and the agency referring the person is invited to attend.

A waiting list is kept. Individuals are contacted before space becomes available so they can access quickly. It is the responsibility of the person waiting to access to ensure up to date contact details (usually a telephone number) are held by the hostel staff.

We will not support any upgrading of banding on Home Choice Plus unless we are certain they are warranted. In other words, we do not support the practice of moving people up the housing list, to private or social landlords, because they are difficult to work with. Our services do have limits and when we are reaching our limits with a particular person, we will tell them what they need to do to remain in our services.

What happens next?

Our Psychologically Informed Hostel environment and our Trauma Informed approach has taught us the fundamental importance of creating safety. In general terms, we operate a ‘first come, first served’ allocations approach to space at the hostel. We have learned the circumstances and support needs of every person must be considered on their own merits and within the entirety of other residents.

Occasionally we might accept someone into our service but defer (known as a Service Deferral) his or her arrival. There are a number of other reasons for a Service Deferral such as room refurbishment as well as balancing the capacity of staff to cope with residents with higher support needs.

Generally, people who have been on the waiting list longest are contacted before those who have been on the list for a short period. However, a decision to offer a placement to someone may be made based on level of need.

Make a referral

To make a referral to us, you must download and complete our referral form, and then submit it via email to us:

Make a Referral