This week’s writer is a live-in worker at a homeless hostel in London

Problems with a resident who is living in the hostel at the moment.
He does not come to key work or do his weekly cleaning task and
often spends more than three nights out in a week. The staff team
have been trying to figure out what to do. Sometimes we have
residents referred who are too independent for the criteria for
this hostel.

The annoying thing with this resident is that
some of us guessed from his referral form that he was too
independent. We called his referral agent in the day centre who
said he was inappropriate. A few days later he called back and
convinced us that the man in question was just right for our
criteria. So we relented and allowed him to move in. During his
stay the staff team have been doing our best for him to try to gain
access to services and to accommodate his requirements. Now six
weeks later the staff team has had to start making tough decisions
about his stay, and his case worker who convinced us that he was
just right for this hostel has left his job.

I spend some of my spare time playing pool with the residents. Some
of them used to give me hints on how to be a good pool player but
most of them have been resettled. Now I am thrown in at the deep
end with people who have been playing for years more than me. Two
of the residents in the pool room complain about my opponent
because in a previous game he had promised them a car if they won,
and one of them did. I was asked my opinion on the question of
honour. I said that I did not have any, and that the resident who
had betted his car did not have one, so it didn’t matter anyway.
With that I lost the frame.

Quiet shift. Not much to do on the weekend shifts because Job
Centres are closed and there is no office work as such to get on
with. We lock the office at 3pm and go and watch TV. After a few
movies I Love 1999 is on, and a colleague makes the point that the
items and events featured in the programme are only 24 months old.
We eagerly await the showing of I Love Last Thursday, which will
surely be commissioned soon.

The resident who was having problems with his stay missed his key
work today, which had become a requirement of his stay under the
new review system. Now the rules of the hostel say we will have to
give him notice to leave, so he can move out in a fortnight. I
suspect that his support network that allows him to spend so many
nights out is dependent on him being able to stay at this hostel
for a few nights a week.

We have spent two team meetings now debating
the nature of his stay and what to do about his situation, and
although we have reached conclusions we are all still left with
that terrible feeling that the concrete answers are still beyond

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