Vulnerable families moved out of Birmingham hotels to make way for Commonwealth Games visitors

Holiday Inn Express hotel
Holiday Inn Express hotel in Yardley Credit: ITV News Central

By Lewis Warner and Raheem RashidITV News Central has learned vulnerable families who were housed in temporary accommodation in Birmingham have been moved away from the city, to make way for Commonwealth Games visitors.

Around twenty families that were living in hotels in the city have been moved to Coventry for the duration of the Games.

It’s claimed some were given 24 hours notice to leave their hotel rooms before being moved away from friends and work. 

Holiday Inn Express hotel Credit: ITV News Central

In a statement, Birmingham City Council said: "In the run up to the Commonwealth Games Birmingham City Council has been working with each of the hotels we use for temporary accommodation to ensure our families are accommodated during the Games. 

"Following these discussions most hotels are able to continue accommodating our families. In the case of when a hotel is fully booked, we have agreed with them to move families to alternative hotels for the duration of the Games.  

"We have ensured that they are provided with alternative arrangements including additional meals and support.

"In total, this relates to less than 20 families being moved to Coventry. However, in recognition of the disruption and uncertainty that this will have on the families affected we have been liaising with them individually.

"We are grateful to the hotels concerned for working with us to provide alternative accommodation and extra support during this very busy period."

The hotel in Yardley Credit: ITV News Central

ITV News Central understands the City Council has contracts with hotel providers in order to house those in need of temporary accommodation, including Holiday Inn Express in Yardley.

One hotel provider says it was always the case that these rooms wouldn't be available for those in temporary accommodation during the Games. 

That has drawn criticism that hotels are just out to make financial gain off the back of the games, to the detriment of those vulnerable people it was housing.

The Alexander Stadium will be among the heart of the Games action

'They're not a commodity just to be simply moved on'

The move to shift families to another city in order to make way for Games visitors who are likely to be paying a higher room rate than the council, has angered charities. 

Eddie O’Hara is an independent social worker and has been speaking to some of the families.

He said: "These families and children are still our families and children, and they deserve much more than I think the city has provided for them.

"They're not a commodity just to be simply moved on. They're part of our society here and actually, if the Commonwealth Games is to mean anything about bringing families from all over the world, it just seems fairly incongruent that we're placing some of our own most vulnerable families outside of our own city."

Vicky Haines, from Shelter in Birmingham, said: "In Birmingham alone last year there were about 12,000 people that were recorded as homeless, 8000 of which are children. 

"To hear then that there's a number of people being moved out of the city is challenging. We've got a broken housing system and as a result of that, councils that don't have huge amounts of funding and will are in a difficult position and not able to house people."

Holiday Inn Express says it can’t comment as all of its bookings are confidential. 

Just as Birmingham prepares to open its arms to the rest of the world, those who live here and need help, feel quite literally pushed out.

Families who were perhaps looking forward to the Games coming to their city, will no longer be here to see it happen.

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