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This paper reviews the progress being made towards harmonising [sic] and regulating hostel standards in Europe, employing the UK and Poland as illustrative case studies. It argues that a ‘ levelling [sic] up ’ harmonisation [sic] of ‘ actual ’ hostel standards appears to be taking place within the UK and Poland, as evidenced by general reductions in the scale of hostels, increases in the level of support they provide, and some attention being paid to user rights and involvement. There are also established ‘ normative ’ physical and management standards for hostels in both countries, which are enforced to a greater or lesser extent via legal, administrative and financial mechanisms, albeit that with respect to Poland the emphasis to date has mainly been on self-regulation (a situation that is likely to change in the near future). However, as things stand, it is difficult to envisage a rapid levelling [sic] up harmonisation [sic] in actual or normative hostel standards between the UK and Poland (or indeed across western and central Europe in general), because of the gap that currently exists with regards to physical conditions in particular. On the other hand, it should be possible to develop transparent EU-wide ‘ benchmarks ’ to allow for consistent comparison in hostel standards within and between countries. The paper contends that such harmonised [sic] benchmarks require to be outcome- focussed [sic], and to be fully informed by the perspective of service users. (Authors)
The European Journal of Homelessness