London’s homeless to be housed in hotel rooms

With government support, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has secured 300 hotel rooms in which rough sleepers in the capital can self-isolate over the coming weeks.

Collaboration with Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) has seen the Mayor’s office able to block-book the rooms in two London hotels for the next 12 weeks. As part of a trial period, rough sleepers who are already known to the homelessness charities supported by the Mayor will be moved to the rooms.

From there, City Hall will then continue to work with a range of partners to identify others sleeping rough and ensure everyone gets the support they need. The Mayor’s emergency response is being provided with the backing of the government, which has co-provided funding to kickstart this work.

Sadiq Khan is also working with black cab drivers, via hailing apps FreeNow and Gett, who have volunteered to help transport people between support services.

He said: “The coronavirus outbreak affects everyone in London and we must do all we can to safeguard everyone’s health – not least those Londoners who face spending each night sleeping rough on the capital’s streets.

“Rough sleepers already face difficult and uncertain lives and I’m determined to do all I can to ensure they, along with all Londoners, are given the best protection possible. My heartfelt thanks go to InterContinental Hotels Group for stepping up and playing their part in helping protect rough sleepers during this difficult period. We are also very grateful to the black cab drivers from FreeNow and Gett who have offered to transport rough sleepers to these rooms, helping them to avoid using public transport. Together, as a city, we will come through this incredibly challenging period.”