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London’s homeless to be given two-week stay in hotels over Christmas

REUTERS/Hannah McKay

London’s homeless to be given two-week stay in hotels over Christmas

The stay includes three meals a day and a festive Zoom quiz with Imelda Staunton and Ellie Goulding. 

London’s homeless to be given two-week stay in hotels over Christmas

London’s homeless charity Crisis has paid for 517 hotel rooms to house rough sleepers over the holiday period.

The annual initiative normally sees Crisis housing the homeless in dormitory-style accommodation. But this year, with the risk of COVID-19 transmission, the charity has booked out four London hotels, provided by the London Hotel Group for discounted rates.

“Normally, we would be running 10 centres with 4,000 guests and 12,000 volunteers,” says Crisis Christmas boss Ian Richards in an interview with The Sunday Times. 

“Then this came along, and we just really had to stop and reinvent the wheel from scratch.

“We didn’t want to do anything less. Our first objective was to offer as much as we always have done in a different way.”

Guests will be given three hot meals a day, delivered by room service. Volunteers have also created a special app that will allow residents to stream entertainment from a phone, and let them know about health services that can be used during their stay.

Celebrities have joined in on the initiative, with The Crown‘s Imelda Staunton and pop star Ellie Goulding among the stars appearing on a virtual Christmas quiz on 25 December.

The number of people living on the streets in London is understood to have increased as the year comes to an end. During the UK’s first lockdown, 15,000 government-funded hotel stays were offered to rough sleepers.

The scheme was not repeated in the second lockdown, but funding was allocated to organisations and councils instead.

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