Tag: homeless

Pandemic silver lining: empty Paris hotel shelters the homeless

PARIS (Reuters) – In normal times the Hotel Avenir Montmartre is a tourist magnet with its views of the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur church, but COVID-19 has scared off the usual guests. Instead, the hotel has opened its doors to the homeless.

The hotel’s management have, for a year, handed over their rooms to homeless charity Emmaus Solidarite, which is now using them to accommodate people who would otherwise be on the streets.

If it were not for his room at the hotel, Ibrahim, an asylum seeker from the West African country of Mali, would be bedding down in the restaurant kitchens where he picks up occasional work, or failing that, outdoors.

“When I had just arrived (in Paris), I didn’t know anyone. I was moving around temporary housing, sometimes I slept in the kitchen, or beside the garbage can,” he said.

“Some days I find a small job, and I earn about 40 euros, 30 euros, 50 euros and I go out. When I find these jobs, I pay for a hotel, which costs 30 euros, to spend the night. But I can’t do this all my life.”

At the Hotel Avenir Montmartre, the cost of his room is covered by the charity. Residents receive three meals a day in the hotel’s breakfast room, and each room has a television and an en suite shower room.

For the charity, the hotel provides a safe base from which they can try to help rebuild residents’ lives. The charity is covering the cost with government aid.

Many residents have physical or mental illnesses from living on the street and the trauma they have experienced, said Emmaus general director Bruno Morel. The charity aims to help them break the cycle of homelessness, he said.

“The day I arrived, I said, great!” Ibrahim said of the hotel. “I see the future. The day will come when my life will change.”

Reporting by Thierry Chiarello and Michaela Cabrera; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Mike Collett-White

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empty Paris hotel shelters the homeless

PARIS (Reuters) – In normal times the Hotel Avenir Montmartre is a tourist magnet with its views of the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur church, but COVID-19 has scared off the usual guests. Instead, the hotel has opened its doors to the homeless.



Pandemic silver lining: empty Paris hotel shelters the homeless


© Reuters/CHARLES PLATIAU
Pandemic silver lining: empty Paris hotel shelters the homeless



a bedroom with a bed and a mirror: Pandemic silver lining: empty Paris hotel shelters the homeless


© Reuters/CHARLES PLATIAU
Pandemic silver lining: empty Paris hotel shelters the homeless

The hotel’s management have, for a year, handed over their rooms to homeless charity Emmaus Solidarite, which is now using them to accommodate people who would otherwise be on the streets.

If it were not for his room at the hotel, Ibrahim, an asylum seeker from the West African country of Mali, would be bedding down in the restaurant kitchens where he picks up occasional work, or failing that, outdoors.

“When I had just arrived (in Paris), I didn’t know anyone. I was moving around temporary housing, sometimes I slept in the kitchen, or beside the garbage can,” he said.



a person using a laptop computer sitting on top of a bed: Pandemic silver lining: empty Paris hotel shelters the homeless


© Reuters/CHARLES PLATIAU
Pandemic silver lining: empty Paris hotel shelters the homeless

“Some days I find a small job, and I earn about 40 euros, 30 euros, 50 euros and I go out. When I find these jobs, I pay for a hotel, which costs 30 euros, to spend the night. But I can’t do this all my life.”

At the Hotel Avenir Montmartre, the cost of his room is covered by the charity. Residents receive three meals a day in the hotel’s breakfast room, and each room has a television and an en suite shower room.



Pandemic silver lining: empty Paris hotel shelters the homeless


© Reuters/CHARLES PLATIAU
Pandemic silver lining: empty Paris hotel shelters the homeless

For the charity, the hotel provides a safe base from which they can try to help rebuild residents’ lives. The charity is covering the cost with government aid.



Bruno Morel talking on a cell phone: Pandemic silver lining: empty Paris hotel shelters the homeless


© Reuters/CHARLES PLATIAU
Pandemic silver lining: empty Paris hotel shelters the homeless

Many residents have physical or mental illnesses from living on the street and the trauma they have experienced, said Emmaus general director Bruno Morel. The charity aims to help them break the cycle of homelessness, he said.

“The day I arrived, I said, great!” Ibrahim said of the hotel. “I see the future. The day will come when my life will change.”

(Reporting by Thierry Chiarello and Michaela Cabrera; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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Fears for Melbourne’s homeless forced out of Covid hotel accommodation | Australia news

When Painter arrived at the Birches serviced apartments in East Melbourne, she breathed a sigh of relief.

“I’ve always said I just needed one person to treat me with a little bit of respect and I’ll flourish, and that’s what I’ve done here at Birches,” she said.

She is one of 2,000 rough sleepers in Victoria who were offered hotel accommodation during the pandemic – a program that has been heralded by service providers as extremely beneficial, and a possible road to ending rough sleeping once and for all.

Painter, who goes only by her last name, said she had been able to get off all drugs and, with the help of the hotel owner, Jenny Kerr, had begun painting and started to think about the future.

“Here I’m safe. S. A. F. E. It’s amazing what that one little thing will do, having a camera outside your room and knowing you can lock your doors.”

After Covid-19 was declared a pandemic the Victorian government announced it would double crisis funding to $6m to help homelessness agencies find temporary housing for those sleeping on the streets of Melbourne.

Unlike in other states, some Victorian rough sleepers were asked to contribute to the cost of their rooms, with some paying several hundred dollars a week.

The government promised the program would be extended until April when more than a thousand private properties would be subleased for rough sleepers. But two weeks ago Painter received a text message telling her the funding had run dry and she needed to call to discuss alternatives.

Painter was one of 2000 rough sleepers in Victoria who were housed during the pandemic



‘I will lose everything I own, again’: Painter was one of 2,000 rough sleepers in Victoria who were housed during the pandemic

“It’s really scary, because not only will I end up back on the streets, I will lose everything I own, again,” she said through tears.

For 25 years, Painter was in an extremely violent and abusive relationship. She became addicted to ice and heroin. When she fled, she ended up on the streets where she faced further abuse and sexual assault.

“It’s just trauma, trauma, trauma and I’m trying to get past it. Knowing that I’m going to be homeless again in two weeks, it’s like, what’s the point?”

‘No one was telling us anything’

When the $150m Home for Homeless program was announced, the premier, Daniel Andrews, said in a press release the funding would “extend current hotel accommodation until at least April next year while these 2,000 Victorians are supported to access stable, long-term housing”.

But in a document distributed to support workers by the Department of Health and Human Services later in the year, seen by Guardian Australia, the message was less clear.

“There may be a perception that emergency accommodation (EA) is available for all people in EA until April 2021. However, this funding is part of a package designed to support people to exit hotel accommodation, not to sustain all tenancies until this date,” the letter reads.

A spokesperson for the government

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UWS Homeless Org Spends Thanksgiving At The Lucerne Hotel

UPPER WEST SIDE, NY — A day after a New York judge cleared the way for the nearly 300 men staying at The Lucerne hotel on the Upper West Side to get moved to the Financial District. A local homeless advocacy group teamed up with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to make sure all the residents had a Thanksgiving meal.

The UWS Open Hearts organization, a leading voice in the fight to keep the homeless men housed at The Lucerne over the past four months on the Upper West Side, helped distribute over 400 Thanksgiving meals on Thursday outside the entrance of the temporary shelter at 201 West 79th Street.

“What we really want to ask the mayor is that he reconsider, that let the men stay here for the holidays,” said Corinne Low, the founder of the UWS Open Hearts organization, in a news release. “This is such a delicate time for sobriety and it’s so important that they have the stability that they found here, the community support, the support from faith leaders.”

Brewer also joined in the food distribution outside of The Lucerne on Thanksgiving.

The food was provided by Goddard Riverside, a non-profit that offers assistance to people experiencing homelessness in Manhattan, among many other social services.

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Volunteers hand out Thanksgiving meals to homeless men at Lucerne Hotel on Upper West Side

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) — Volunteers tried to make the holiday special for homeless men being housed in hotels in Manhattan.

The group ‘Upper West Side Open Hearts’ handed out 400 Thanksgiving meals at the Lucerne on Thanksgiving.

They also distributed coffee and donuts at the Belleclaire on Thursday morning.

ALSO READ | Judge dismisses effort to hold up homeless move from NYC hotel

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CeFaan Kim reports a judge on Wednesday dismissed an effort to hold up the movement of homeless men from the Lucerne Hotel on the Upper West Side.

The handouts were followed by a spiritual walk and talk as well as a volunteer-led AA meeting.

On Wednesday, a judge ruled the city can move the men out of the hotel after neighbors fought to have them removed.

The approximately 200 homeless men can now be moved to the Radisson Hotel in Lower Manhattan, although there will likely be an appeal.

ALSO READ | Bronx pizza shop honored for feeding hungry New Yorkers during pandemic

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A pizza shop owner in the Bronx was honored by the city council for his hard work to help others in need.

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Man arrested for Renton arson at COVID-19 hotel for homeless

RENTON — A man staying at a hotel in Renton for people experiencing homelessness with COVID-19 was arrested after a hotel room caught fire, police said.

Renton firefighters responded to fire in a sixth floor room inside the Red Lion Hotel on Wednesday afternoon, KOMO-TV reported.

Firefighters said a sprinkler controlled the fire and it was contained to the room. No injuries were reported. The building was evacuated and six rooms were damaged by water or smoke. People staying in those rooms were moved to different rooms at the hotel, according to authorities.

Since April, firefighters and medics have been called to the hotel 277 times.

The hotel’s use as a temporary shelter has caused a dispute between city and King County officials.

County officials have said the arrangement at the Red Lion Hotel has slowed the spread of the coronavirus. The city says it has led to an increase in crime in the area.

City officials are on track to consider legislation that would set a six-month move-out date at the Red Lion, where nearly 250 people have been living since April.

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Man arrested for arson at Renton hotel sheltering 200 homeless people

The Red Lion Hotel was turned into a homeless shelter shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently housing around 200 homeless people.

RENTON, Wash. — A 46-year-old man staying at a hotel-turned-homeless shelter in Renton was arrested after allegedly setting his hotel room on fire.

Renton firefighters and police responded to the fire in a sixth-floor room inside the Red Lion Hotel around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday. The hotel was turned into a homeless shelter shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently housing around 200 homeless people.

The Renton Police Department said a witness pointed out a man to officers outside the hotel and said he was the one who started the fire. Police said the man was detained for questioning.

Investigators learned the 46-year-old suspect had lived at the hotel for about three weeks and became upset with staff members. Police said the man told hotel staff he was “going to burn this place down.”

Police said the suspect locked himself in his hotel room on the sixth floor and hotel staff called a locksmith for help. As the locksmith and hotel staff approached the room, they encountered thick smoke on the sixth floor and found the suspect standing in the doorway of his room, police said.

The locksmith tried to enter the room with a fire extinguisher but was held back by the smoke and heat.

Police said the suspect eventually walked out of his room and went outside where he was arrested.

Firefighters said a sprinkler controlled the fire. The fire started on a couch and was contained to the room, according to the preliminary arson investigation.

Six rooms were damaged by water or smoke, and police said there was “extensive” smoke and fire damage to the fifth and sixth floors. People staying in the damaged rooms were relocated to different rooms at the hotel.

No injuries were reported.

A fire official told police the fire put multiple lives in danger. The suspect was booked into the King County Regional Justice Center for investigation of first-degree arson.

RELATED: Renton considers vacating Red Lion Hotel sheltering 200 homeless people

Renton city leaders have been considering a plan that would force the homeless people staying at the Red Lion Hotel to move elsewhere.

The city council is mulling a six-month plan to vacate the hotel. This comes amid disagreements between officials and leaders at the Red Lion Hotel over the hotel’s operation and the number of homeless occupants.

Chip Vincent, the administrator for Renton’s Community & Economic Development department, said there have been several concerns brought to the city by leaders and residents about the recent influx of homeless tenants and how it could affect the city in the future. There have been several ordinances proposed to head off any possible issues.

So far, King County and the city of Renton haven’t been able to agree on terms regarding the space. As a result, King County was issued a violation, which it

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Plan calls for housing homeless in transformed Kansas hotel

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A proposal to transform a hotel near downtown Wichita into housing for the homeless goes before the city council next week.

The owner of the 316 Hotel has agreed to sell the building for $2.6 million, according to Wichita spokesperson Megan Lovely. Renovations for the studio apartments are estimated to cost another $1.6 million, The Wichita Eagle reports.

The project is expected to be funded with $2 million in city funds, nearly $2.3 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act dollars and another $200,000 in private donations, she said.

HumanKind Ministries, which was previously Inter-Faith Ministries, would own and operate the location.

“The 316 Hotel Project is a rare opportunity,” city of Wichita Housing and Community Services director Sally Stang said in a news release, adding that it would help slow the spread of COVID-19 and “provide much needed supportive housing for our community.”

The 2019 Point-In-Time Homeless Count in Sedgwick County reported 593 people that met the definition of being homeless. That’s 20 more people than reported in 2018 report and the highest number back to 2014.

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Hotel near downtown Wichita could be used for those who are homeless under proposal

The growing population of Wichita’s homeless could have another place to lay their heads.

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If approved by the Wichita City Council on Dec. 1, millions of dollars in public and private funds will help transform the 316 Hotel near downtown into a 56-unit complex for those who are homeless or vulnerable to becoming homeless, according to a news release from the city of Wichita and Impact ICT — Continuum of Care, which is a coalition of groups, businesses and individuals.

HumanKind Ministries, which was previously Inter-Faith Ministries, will own and operate the location at 1011 N. Topeka.

The project would complement a recently awarded $1 million U.S. Department of Justice grant that includes resources for homelessness in the Broadway corridor.

“The 316 Hotel Project is a rare opportunity,” city of Wichita Housing and Community Services director Sally Stang said in the release. “It allows us to leverage resources to not only provide for the immediate need to de-congregate shelter as a means to slow the spread of COVID-19 but to also secure a long-term asset to provide much needed supportive housing for our community.”

The 2019 Point-In-Time Homeless Count in Sedgwick County reported 593 people that met the definition of being homeless. That’s 20 more people than reported in 2018 report and the highest number back to 2014. Data going back to 2008 shows a high of 634 homeless people in 2011.

In Sedgwick County, there are roughly 320 year-round beds, 123 winter-only beds and an additional 303 “transitional housing beds” for a total of 746 beds dedicated to emergency shelter and transitional housing, according to Wichita spokesperson Megan Lovely.

The hotel project would mitigate the stress existing organizations face in supporting the homeless population.

The owner of 316 Hotel has agreed to sell the building for $2.6 million, Lovely said. Renovations for the studio apartments are estimated to cost another $1.6 million, she said in an email.

The project is expected to be funded with $2 million in city funds, nearly $2.3 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act dollars and another $200,000 in private donations, she said.

The hotel was built in 1998 as the Kansas Inn and changed ownership before being put up for sale this year because of under-utilization.

Plans call for using the building as a women’s shelter while renovations are being done. Renovations include “facility beautification,” converting each room into a studio and adding office spaces for social service providers.

If the project is approved, it could be open by January, with renovations expected to be completed by August.

HumanKind has more than 135 years of experience helping the homeless population. It operates a homeless shelter year-round and has three emergency shelters. Those facilities serve between 1,100 and 1,500 people each year.

“The Studios at HumanKind are a natural progression for us, filling a gap in services in our community while complementing our existing shelters and low-income apartments,” HumanKind Ministries president and CEO

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Man arrested for arson after fire set in Renton hotel housing homeless people

A homeless man was arrested for arson after a couch was set afire in a room at the Red Lion Hotel in Renton Wednesday morning, according to the Renton Police Department. Since April, the hotel has provided shelter to more than 200 people in an effort to thin out crowded shelters and protect people from the spread of COVID-19.

Renton firefighter crews responded to the fire on the sixth floor and said a sprinkler system helped to contain the flames. The building was evacuated, and no injuries were reported, according to The Associated Press.

Six rooms were damaged by water or smoke. People staying in those rooms were moved to different rooms at the hotel.

According to a Thursday statement by the Police Department, the suspect, a 46-year-old man who had lived at the hotel for three weeks, became upset with staff members. He told staff, “I’m going to burn this place down,” according to a statement by police. A preliminary arson investigation indicated that the fire started on a couch. 

The Renton hotel has primarily housed people who were previously staying at the Downtown Emergency Service Center’s Morrison Hotel shelter in Seattle. Many of those served by this shelter have disabilities, serious mental illness or substance use disorders, according to previous reporting by The Seattle Times. 

King County is currently paying for the hotel, along with three other hotels in the region, to house those who are homeless. The county spends close to $2 million per month for use of the hotels, according to Sherry Hamilton, spokesperson for the King County Department of Community and Human Services. 

Early into the county’s use of the Red Lion Hotel, Renton city officials started pushing back. In May, Renton leaders publicly asked King County to move people living at the hotel out by July, citing a large increase in 911 calls. 

According to earlier reporting by The Seattle Times, Renton police Chief Ed VanValey told the King County Council in early May that there had been a 79% increase in calls from the hotel’s location — sometimes nine to 12 calls in a single day. Renton Regional Fire Authority Chief Rick Marshall told the council the fire department fielded 30 calls in April, whereas over the same period last year it fielded one.  

This week, Renton city officials rushed forward legislation that would set a six-month move-out date at the Red Lion. Renton City Council could vote the legislation into law as early as next week, when it comes up for a first reading.

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