MHCLG have – to their credit – been quite clear about the position for some hotels – where they are providing room for the homeless by arrangement with a local authority, they should remain open.
Unfortunately, it appears that some hotel chains, at extremely short notice, have decided otherwise.
Travelodge – used by many local authorities as emergency accommodation for homeless applicants – was apparently proposing to close on Thursday. Today (Tuesday 24 March) Travelodge apparently decided they would close immediately today. There was little or no notification to local authorities. One found out when the people placed there got notes under their door, another was given four hours notice:
@TravelodgeUK gave us four hours notice to find alternative accommodation for our clients. One was 84 years old. Luckily we managed to find other rooms by the skin of our teeth. Now no backup for out of hours or hospital discharge if other hotel chains closed. This is only wk 1!
— David B (@dmbx31) March 24, 2020
Homeless temporary accommodation teams were left desperately scrambling to find alternative accommodation:
Absolutely. felt like the rug being pulled from under us today. In more rural areas there is no powerful commission mechanism / partnerships like in the cities. One small bit of hope is private operators and holiday lets reaching out
— Lee Pepper (@leepepper7) March 24, 2020
And it may not be just Travelodge:
We were contacted by client at a comfort inn today. Same. LAA unaware.
— CLP (@clpsolicitors) March 24, 2020
This need urgent national level intervention. For all that I might criticise councils for putting people into basic hotels and then leaving them there for long periods, we all know the huge pressures on the availability of temporary and emergency accommodation for council homeless units. Past this immediate crisis of today, there will be virtually no emergency accommodation for homeless applicants.
Just finished work. This week/last week has been hell on earth. Housing Advice Services were drowning before Coronavirus, now it is actually critical. Illegal evictions, loss of TA and families evicting in numbers I've never seen before. Loss of Travelodge is devastating https://t.co/AV62XSTUQF
— Housing Officer (@CHousingofficer) March 24, 2020