The minister for local government and homelessness has urged hotels providing rooms to support homeless people to remain open, and those that have closed to reconsider.
On Monday, the government announced that hotels should close their doors except where accommodating permanent residents or key workers.
In the letter, MP Luke Hall said: “I want to make clear that where hotels, hostels, and B&Bs are providing rooms to support homeless people, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they should remain open. Rooms may also be provided to frontline homelessness workers who are included in the key worker category…
“If you have closed services for homeless people today [24 March] as a result of the measures announced this week, I would be very grateful if you could reverse these decisions as soon as possible. Thank you very much for everything you are doing to save lives and provide care for some of the most vulnerable in our society.”
The letter follows reports yesterday, with the mayor for Greater Manchester Andy Burnham claiming Britannia Hotels evicted homeless people which the council had arranged to house in one of the group’s properties. The Guardian has also reported Travelodge closed properties that were housing key workers and homeless families.
A statement from Travelodge said: “Travelodge has been obliged to commence the temporary closure of its hotels in line with the instructions from the government on 24 March 2020. We do expect to remain open in selected critical locations across the country to support accommodation for emergency workers and other groups. We are reviewing daily which hotels are best positioned to support the needs that arise with the government while ensuring we comply with the new restrictions in place to protect the public.”
More than 300 of InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) London rooms are being used to allow the homeless to self-isolate. Meanwhile, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs' Stock Exchange hotel and Hotel Football in Manchester, Best Western and the Town Hall hotel in London's Bethnal Green have opened their doors to NHS staff.