Homeless are offered free stay at city hotel over Christmas
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A hotel owner is offering free accommodation for people who will be homeless over the Christmas period.
Tony Burlingham will be welcoming 30 homeless people to stay in his Hotel NR2 in Earlham Road overnight on Boxing Day.
Mr Burlingham has been in talks with local councils and St Martins Housing to offer a roof over the heads of people who might otherwise have been sleeping rough.
And each qualifying guest will also get a food voucher for use at the Dyrrah Coffee Cafe at the Earlham House shopping centre further down the road from the hotel.
Mr Burlingham said: "During the year, I've seen a lot of people in unfortunate positions and I feel this is the best way I can do something for them at this time of year.
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"I have the ability to house in need people on Boxing Day and provide them with a voucher for the cafe to get some hot food and drink."
Mr Burlingham has also arranged for the car park at Hotel NR2, which is enforced by NPE, to be made available for taxis and volunteer vehicles from 10am on Boxing Day until 11am on December 27.
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Figures published by the government last week showed more than 68,000 households in England were assessed as homeless or facing homelessness during a three-month period this year - an increase of more than 11pc compared with the same period last year.
The data also showed that the number of households in temporary accommodation was 86,130 on June 30, up by 4.5pc from 82,390 on the same date last year.
Downing Street said £63m of new money has been made available under a grant scheme that seeks to help homeless households into accommodation.
It added a further £200m already committed to councils in England, which has been reallocated as part of efforts to help people who are either homeless or at risk of losing their properties.
But Labour's shadow housing secretary John Healey said: "This is too little, too late for the thousands of people sleeping on our streets this Christmas.
"Rough sleeping has more than doubled since 2010 as a direct result of decisions made by Conservative ministers, including cuts of £1bn a year from vital homelessness services."