Sheffield Travelodges used to house homeless people from Peterborough

The Travelodge in Sheffield city centre
The Travelodge in Sheffield city centre

MP Clive Betts has written to the Housing Minister to express concern that homeless people from Peterborough are being sent to Travelodges in Sheffield - because of a lack of emergency accommodation in their home town.

In his letter to Kit Malthouse, Mr Betts is demanding urgent action to address the issue of increasing homelessness across the country and a lack of emergency accommodation available.

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He said it it ‘wholly acceptable’ that people from outside the city are being offered emergency accommodation in the city without any support made available to them.

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The MP claims Sheffield Council was not made aware of the practice before it started and that the first Travelodge staff were aware was when homeless people checked in.

Bookings were made by Peterborough Council online.

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He said: “As far as I can establish, this is usually being done without any prior discussion or liaison with Sheffield City Council nor with the hotels concerned.

“Bookings and payments are being made online by Peterborough Council, but there is no other information being provided.

“This is of particular concern where people will naturally be highly stressed, but it is simply outrageous when individuals may be exhibiting signs of acute mental illness, or children are being separated from their schooling.”

Mr Betts added: “Certainly, Sheffield has enough housing challenges of its own without them being added to by a law-breaking council.

“It’s just not on.”

In his letter he said: “To place unsupported and often vulnerable families in an area with which they have no connection is wholly unacceptable.”

He said South Yorkshire Police officers have been called out to deal with some of the homeless people housed in Sheffield Travelodges. 

In a letter to Mr Betts, Superintendent Paul McCurry, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “Housing colleagues have raised concerns about the use of hotel accommodation via online booking because until a person arrives, hotels often do not know anything about these individuals, which frequently means that the accommodation is not safe or suitable for them as they have no wrap around support to help being so far away from home. 

“Sheffield is presently reviewing how much temporary accommodation it requires in the city however, this becomes more challenging if councils are unaware of vulnerable people being placed by other authorities in their city without contacting them.”

It also emerged last week that Peterborough Council has been sending homeless people to Doncaster too.

Travelodge declined to comment.

A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council said: "When placing families into temporary accommodation in the Sheffield area we carried out full assessments and remained responsible for their support and welfare. Our officers were in regular contact with the families to check on their wellbeing and they have all since moved back to Peterborough.
"We do not have anyone placed in temporary accommodation in Sheffield currently and have not had since June 2018. 

"We accept that in some cases we should have notified the receiving authorities, but it was never our intention that households would be accommodated out of area for longer than two weeks at a time and there was never an expectation that any support from authorities was needed. If we had concerns we would have raised them.
"Homelessness is a national issue which is affecting many local authorities and we are actively working to increase the supply of both temporary and permanent housing in Peterborough.

"Our reliance on Travelodge is reducing month by month, with 21 household currently accommodated, which is the lowest it's been for some time."