ROUGH sleepers put up at a Worcester hotel during the coronavirus pandemic are still there ahead of the hotel opening to the public today.

In total 45 rough sleepers were homed temporarily at the Fownes Hotel in Worcester at the start of the outbreak in March, and have remained there since.

Mohamed Khalil, general manager of the City Walls Road hotel, said although the hotel was opening, they were happy for them to stay.

“We have 40 left, as five have been found homes,” Mr Khalil said.

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“The council has said they will be found homes by August. We are now preparing to open, we have been doing all the cleaning and making it ready. They will have their own area in the hotel. People have been very understanding. They have said it is a wonderful thing we have been doing. We are in this together, it has been a challenging time. If something like this happened again, we would do it again.”

A Worcester News reporter visited the hotel in June and spoke to some of those being given a temporary home. Fownes guest Peter Swinbourne, aged 48, who has been homeless for 25 years, said about his experience: “I have never slept in a double bed before. I’m happy here - this is a five star hotel putting up homeless people.”

A Worcester City Council spokesman said: “We are working with a range of partners across the local government and voluntary sectors to develop an exit strategy to ensure as many people as possible are offered suitable long-term accommodation when their placements at the Fownes come to an end. This includes developing personal housing plans with individual rough sleepers to ensure services understand and can meet their needs and aspirations.”