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Shrewsbury hotel to stay open for homeless amid lockdown

The Prince Rupert hotel in Shrewsbury has announced it will continue to offer rooms for homeless people amid the new lockdown restrictions.

According to the BBC, the hotel welcomed almost 60 homeless people earlier this year, and will continue to offer a further 70 rooms for people in need.

Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, told the BBC: “We simply cannot allow more people to be made street homeless right now.

“With the economic effects of the pandemic starting to bite and unemployment rising, tragically many more people could find themselves homeless in the months ahead.”

Shelter said councils “must provide safe accommodation” to those in need during the new lockdown which starts on Thursday.

Mike Matthews, manager of The Prince Rupert, told the BBC: “I’ve puzzled why it hasn’t been rolled out across the country, these are totally unprecedented times.

“These buildings shouldn’t be closed, they should be open to the most vulnerable. I would be really disappointed if the hospitality industry doesn’t welcome homeless people during the winter months.”

The month-long lockdown in England is expected to end on 2 December, with Matthews adding that he expects to cater for rough sleepers and homeless people throughout Christmas and into 2021.

Matthews told the BBC he has started talks with Shropshire Council and will open the hotel doors to rough sleepers and vulnerable people from Wednesday.

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