COVID-19: Not Everyone Loves Hotel Rooms, Not Even The Homeless. But Some Do.

exterior view of hotel in london england
Travelodge London Bethnal Green Hotel, Cambridge Heath Road, London photo by David McKelvey is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Some hotel chains have been providing temporary accommodation to people who are homeless during COVID-19.

In Western Australia, officials reacted with dismay and annoyance when a number of people who were experiencing homelessness “looked the hotel room gift horse in the mouth” and abandoned their new COVID-19 housing as unsuitable.1

Other well-meaning jurisdictions have reacted to COVID-19 and whisked rough sleepers into hotels and motels. And they too have discovered that “housing first” on its own — to use the title of one of the best known and successful housing for the homeless programs — is, without follow up support, not in itself a permanent solution to homelessness. Indeed, the unexpected isolation provided by a warm, comfortable hotel room doesn’t automatically mean the end of other harms, such as drug use.2

Fortunately, the news from homeless-occupied hotel and motel rooms is not all gloomy. Here’s a more hopeful report from Shelterforce: Hotel Rooms for the Homeless Change Health Outcomes Beyond COVID


  1. Try: Australians Resist COVID-19 Path To Eliminate Homelessness
  2. Try: Hiding Rough Sleepers From COVID: Not Quite A Crackerjack Blessing?