Rough sleepers enjoyed normal life in hotels in Sheffield during pandemic

Rough sleepers say staying in hotels in Sheffield during the pandemic made them feel like “normal people” with regular meals and a television.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 12:30 pm

Councils were told to provide accommodation for rough sleepers with immediate effect during the first lockdown last March and Sheffield Council placed 196 people in emergency accommodation.

Housing officer Zoe Young told a scrutiny meeting there had been a lot of positive comments.

She said: “One person said I’ve just felt like a normal person. We also got comments like it’s really good that I don’t have to go into town on a Saturday or a Sunday, because if I do that my dealer gives me an extra bag and basically I’m hooked again but I don’t have to do that now.”

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Sheffield Council officials placed 196 people in emergency accommodation.

He said the Archer Project offered a seven day service throughout the pandemic with the support of other services.

“All of the voluntary sectors, including some of the soup kitchens, worked together to make sure there was a contact point and, this is a really essential point, because while people were going into hotels, some were leaving very quickly,” he added.

“Some people felt bullied out of those hotels by other people using hotels and some were just not used to that sort of environment so that essential contact service still needed to be maintained.”

Mr Renshaw said there was an adjustment period when services had to work with this “really complex group” going into hotels.

He added: “Bed and Breakfast is normally temporary accommodation but there was competition to get into hotels because actually you get better service.

“Two good meals rather than just breakfast is a real change and access to a television is some sort of comfort and a sense of a home rather than just a shared room.

“The contrast between B&Bs and hotels made it a talking point that it hasn’t previously been and we are looking at longer term, better solutions.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.