I just saw an article about a "hostel" in a Missouri, USA website:
"Springfield Considers a Hostel in the Commercial Street District"
Just one block south of Commercial St., at Boonville and Pacific, sits an unassuming parking lot. That's despite some assumptions it should be the location of Springfield's first hostel.
"This is a place they could choose to stay," says the Executive Director of Victory Mission, Jim Harriger.
Harriger proposes a four-story facility there, which could house 210 men nightly, for $10 a night.
The article wasn't clear, but it sounds like they're using the word "hostel" to refer to a shelter of some kind. Victory Mission sounds like its mission is to help the needy, not provide dorm beds for travelers:
When Victory Mission begain in 1976, it was a hand out to those that needed help. Now, Victory Mission is a multi-faceted, Christian educational facility teaching the life and job skills needed to become productive citizens.
Jim Harriger told the Springfield City Council on Monday he felt a bill to delay new construction in the Commercial Street Historic District was aimed squarely at him.
Harriger, executive director of Victory Mission homeless shelter, plans to build a hostel for homeless travelers near Commercial Street that could accommodate up to 210 people.
But the city is seeking a one-year "administrative delay" on new building permits and zoning changes near Commercial.
It appears that due to this, the city is making restrictions on "hostels" that might affect actual travelers hostels in the future:
The memorandum also includes an amendment for the Hotels, Motels, Inns, Hostels, and Dormitories in the Center City District:
Hostels shall be limited to maximum occupancy of twenty-four (24) guests and not more than one (1) kitchen.
That would mean Harriger's proposal of 210 occupants wouldn't work. However, that was only a draft, not an official ordinance
I think it's detrimental for modern travelers hostels for the word "hostel" to be applied to homeless shelters or other kinds of shelters. I've only seen this usage of "hostel" in the UK and Ireland until now.
I think the problem is that many people don't know what a hostel is so anyone can say something about "hostels" and people will accept it. The city of Springfield, MO is considering limiting the size of hostels to 24 beds which could be shooting themselves in the foot from a tourism perspective as the hostel industry rapidly expands in the US. Tourism is almost 10% of Springfield's economy and it's right on Route 66 which makes it attractive to international backpackers. The city even claims the title "Birthplace of Route 66".
What do you think? Is using the word "hostel" to refer to homeless shelters detrimental to hostels?