GUESTS at a hotel being used to house homeless people have hit back at residents who accused them of blighting the area.
Kerry Senior (45) said she was made homeless through domestic violence and would have been “lost” without the Government’s initiative to get rough sleepers off the streets during the pandemic.
“It’s the best thing Boris Johnson has done,” she said.
The care worker said she had been “mortified” to read the comments by a hotel neighbour in last week’s Dearne Valley Weekender, saying “drunks and drug addicts” from the hotel were blighting the area and causing anti-social behaviour at Manvers Lake.
Kerry said: “There’s a stigma around homeless people that they are either thugs or drug addicts.
“They are tarring everyone with the same brush, it’s really not fair.”
Kerry said the woman’s comments had made her feel like a “tramp and a lowlife”.
Kerry, who was made redundant at the start of covid, added: “I’ve always worked, I’ve never claimed benefits.
“There’s another woman in here with her son, she’s a care assistant and is still going to work every day.
“When the hotel was getting bad press, it scared me. I don’t want them to evict all the homeless people because they’re getting a bad name.”
Kerry, who once owned a house in Manvers, said it was unfair to blame antisocial behaviour at the lake on hotel guests as she had witnessed youths being dealt with by police at the beauty spot.
In response to complaints ex-offenders were staying at the hotel, she said: “There was one ex-offender who had become homeless and he’s moved on now.”
The hotel stay had been a lifeline for her and staff had gone above and beyond to help guests, she said.
“I don’t think the hotel deserves a bad reputation for it,” she added.
David Galbarczyk (51), who is staying at the Holiday Inn while working away from home, said the homeless people had been “very respectable, polite and pleasant”.
Painter and decorator David said some of the homeless people he had spoken to were “disgusted” by the comments made by the resident.
He said: “There were a few issues when I first arrived, mainly people being rowdy near the smoking area, but they’ve all been moved on.
“It’s just people who have lost their way for a bit, none seem to be on drugs - I used to be a drugs counsellor many years ago.
“They seem respectable people, some have issues but everybody does and at least they are getting help.”
He said he had not been put off staying at the hotel and had enjoyed socialising with the temporary guests.
David said homeless people had also been helping to look after an elderly council tenant who had been staying at the site while his home was repaired.