John Jones, Managing Director of Welcome Systems Ltd asks if Bed & Breakfasts across the UK can do more to offer rooms to a homeless guest or refugee?
This is a question increasingly being put to B&B owners as winter temperatures plunge across the UK and official figures show that over 50,000 families in England are currently living in temporary accommodation.
This is a 300 per cent increase over the past five years of families staying in B&Bs for more than six-weeks, a figure which has doubled during the past year alone.
In Milton Keynes the council has resorted to asking the public to help solve the area’s homelessness crisis after the number of Syrian refugees seeking sanctuary in the city increased five-fold from September to November 2015.
Local authorities there are now struggling to cope with 100 new homelessness applications every month, and are spending more than £1 million each year on temporary B&B accommodation.
If this sounds familiar you may also remember the recent story of former Manchester United teammates Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs giving permission for around 30 homeless people to stay in the £1.5m Grade II-listed building they are developing into a 35-bedroom boutique hotel.
All of this begs the question as to whether the B&B and hotel sector is doing enough to support those most in need of their help?
True enough, we are all businesses, not charities, but online room booking management systems like our own ‘Welcome Anywhere’ are ideally suited to help manage and maximise occupancy throughout the seasonal peaks and troughs of the year.
Perhaps the profits that come with achieving these enhanced bookings can leave a little space to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
Our staff will be putting their hands into their pockets this winter to support the national housing and homelessness charity – Shelter – to do our bit to help make 2016 a brighter year for everyone. We invite you to do the same.