Homeless man’s questions over Rotherham Council’s hotel placements

A HOMELESS pensioner questioned why he was having to pay out of his own savings to stay at a hotel with council-funded temporary accommodation vacancies.
Homeless couple Michael and Kasem Fletcher.Homeless couple Michael and Kasem Fletcher.
Homeless couple Michael and Kasem Fletcher.

Michael Fletcher (73) has been at the Consort in Thurcroft for the past couple of weeks – after a nightmare stay at another hotel also used by RMBC.

He and wife Kasem (58) paid £353 for a week at the other place but said: “I felt it straight away, the mustiness.

“There were large holes in the net curtains and we had to sleep on towels because the beds were so damp. It was the same with damp in the bathroom, it was soaking wet.

“Then the council’s homeless team offered me a placement there.

“I said if I go back in there, I’m going to come out worse than I am now. It should be demolished.

“I’m now at the Consort, which is another place the council use. This could have been a free place through the service.”

Michael and Kasem sold their Middlesex flat to retire to her native Thailand, but he struggled with the climate and deteriorating eyesight.

Now back in the UK, he is paying to stay at the Consort while on RMBC’s homelessness register and council house waiting list – and hoping for a place close to Maltby, where he grew up.

“I just want to know the reason why I can’t stay here through them,” said Michael, who worked as coach and truck driver, later moving into management.

“I’ve already got the room, and I know there are vacancies here. I’ve kept checking.

“I’m on the list for housing, and I’ve tried private lets. I’ve seen six places but I get knocked back because they want people with regular income.”

Rotherham Council’s assistant director for housing, James Clark, said: “The council does not comment on individual situations other than to say we are actively supporting Mr Fletcher with his accommodation needs.

“We take the suitability of our emergency accommodation including hotels very seriously and visit the hotels regularly.

“Any concerns or issues raised with us are followed up with the hotel management and we would stop using accommodation that we deemed to be unsuitable.”