Charity looking for Christmas miracle after hotel cancels rooms for homeless

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A charity says it is seriously concerned for the welfare of a city’s homeless population after a hotel suddenly cancelled the rooms it has booked to get people off the streets over Christmas.

The Raise the Roof Homeless Project, in Hull, says it needs a Christmas miracle after the Royal Hotel cancelled its booking for 14 twin rooms with no explanation.

The group posted on its Facebook page that it was “absolutely gutted and very angry”.

It said: “Our Xmas hotel campaign is now in serious doubt being so close to Christmas. We need a miracle.”

Organiser Carl Simpson said he booked rooms for 28 people in the city centre hotel but, with only a week to go before Christmas, he has been told the bookings have now been cancelled.

Mr Simpson said he is waiting for an explanation because he was clear and open when he booked that the rooms would be used for the homeless.

He said: “I can’t think of anything else apart from discrimination. This is just kicking people at their lowest, while they’re down.”

Mr Simpson said: “They’ve left us in a real fix. We had already told people and it had given them a lot of hope. Now we’ve got to tell them it’s not going to happen.

“Christmas is the lowest point of the year for the homeless, you see suicides increase. Last year we did not have any deaths in Hull.”

Raise the Roof used the city’s Ibis hotel last year for its Christmas campaign, but the venue did not have enough twin rooms available this year to repeat the booking, cafe owner Mr Simpson said.

But he said there had been no reports of any trouble from the previous booking, adding: “We had guests asking staff for Hoovers to tidy up after (themselves).”

Mr Simpson said that he had paid the Royal Hotel, which is part of the Britannia Hotels group, £1,092 for 14 twin rooms on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

He is now concerned about the time it will take to receive the refund, and whether the number of rooms needed can still be found elsewhere at an affordable price.

Asked what he wanted to happen, Mr Simpson said: “If Britannia could change their minds or if another hotel could come forward.”

A manager at the Royal Hotel told the Press Association on Sunday there was no-one available to comment.

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