A Week in Housing

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A hotel has cancelled a load of rooms booked for homeless people over Christmas for no apparent reason – hurrah for goodwill!

Carl Simpson, founder of Raise the Roof Homeless Project, and organisation that aims to help rough sleepers, booked 14 twin rooms at the Royal Hotel in Hull.

However, the outlet has decided to cancel the £1,092 booking at the 11th hour with no explanation – and Mr Simpson is yet to be refunded, meaning he is unable to book alternative accommodation.

In a Facebook post, Mr Simpson wrote: ‘Absolutely gutted and very angry. Before we booked this hotel, we informed them that we was a homeless project and what it was for and they was fine about it so we paid £1092.

‘I asked for a reason and was told there isn’t one, I’ve asked for an email to be sent asap giving reason for this action so will update you when it arrives but in my eyes this is nothing more than discrimination especially after we was so open about what it was for.

‘Our Xmas hotel campaign is now in serious doubt being so close to Xmas we need a miracle.’

Last year, Mr Simpson managed to get 24 rough sleepers booked into an Ibis hotel over Christmas. It’s going to be extremely interesting to discover what cobbled-together explanation the Royal Hotel finally comes up. Why not contact Britannia Hotels group which owns it and see what they’ve got to say. I will.

And while we’re on homelessness at Christmas, let’s see some figures from the group that runs the UK, the Conservative Party Ltd. Over April-June this year, 58,660 English households were ‘owed a new statutory homeless duty’, of which 33,330 were ‘owed a new prevention duty’ and 25,330 ‘were owed a new relief duty’.

On 30 June, there were 82,310 households in temporary accommodation, up 5% on the same date in 2017 and an incredible 71% on 31 December 2010. So, good work there, Cameron, Clegg and May.

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If you think the country’s ability to build enough new homes is in a sorry state, then spare a thought for EastEnders fans.

A BBC project to build a new set for the abysmal soap opera is already £27 million over the original budget, according to the National Audit Office.

Apparently, the new set, if it’s ever finished, will be ‘HD-ready’. As far as I can make out from the BBC’s own report , the current set, which is now 34 years old, is in too appalling a state to be filmed in high definition. (There’s an obvious gag to be made here about the quality of the writing being too appalling for any kind of broadcast, but it’d be more of an accurate observation than a joke.)

Anyhow, the HD set, which was planned for operation in 2018 but is now scheduled for a 2023 activation, will be built out of proper bricks and stuff, rather than the mere facades that the current one is composed of.

In a statement, the BBC said: ‘It’s a large, complex project which has already delivered many other vital improvements at BBC Elstree Centre but like any building work of this scale there have been challenges on the way, including construction market issues beyond our control and from working on a brownfield site.’

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Did you say you’d like some tenuous housing news? You’ve got it!

A woman called Honey G, who I understand was some kind of laughing stock on terrible yet popular TV show The X-Factor, has turned her back on show business and become an estate agent.

I should add that this ‘news’ comes from The Sun, so there’s an extremely high chance it’s irredeemably untrue but let’s continue nonetheless.

The woman now works as a sales negotiator at Chancellors Estate Agents, of which a ‘source’ said: ‘Her new colleagues didn’t recognise her at first and were shocked, but after realising who she was they joked that she should perform at their Christmas party.’

Speaking to The Sun, the 37-year old… …hang on – this is a terrible, terrible story. Absolute rubbish! Oh well, at least it’s Christmas week so I should get a pass. Let’s hope that goodwill extends into the new year!

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Now it’s HQN event roundup bit, so it is.

In February, in Manchester, in a building, we’re holding an workshop about work places. It is called ‘Amazing workplaces’.

And what can you expect if you so choose to attend this event? Well, we’ll be looking at: amazing workplaces – what they look and feel like; how good office design can attract and retain the best employees; great places to work – hear from housing providers who are up there with the top employers; how technology will shape the workplace of tomorrow; the importance of getting the right culture; and employee health and well being – how we can make a difference.

So, that’s quite a lot of handy things, isn’t it? And now you can click this webpage link to read more and book.

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Social landlords – I bet you’d like to resolve complaints quickly and efficiently, wouldn’t you? Luckily, we here at HQN have once again teamed up with our pals at the Housing Ombudsman to deliver some workshops that’ll focus on closing complaints early, improving communications, getting social media right, and better record keeping.

Tiptop stuff, eh? And all I have to do now is supply you with a functioning link to the said event, which I’m going to do….right…………………………………………………………………….now.

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