Many of the 50 residents at the Dorchester Hotel in Gloucester are permanently homeless and need support, so things looked very bleak when the water and electricity was cut off during the 2007 UK floods. Fortunately, someone had heard about the Red Cross.
When the floods hit, hotel manager Lynn Horsley feared the worst. She remembers: “Although some of our guests were victims of the flooding and had needed to move out of their homes, most residents here are permanently homeless and have lived with us for many years.
“They come from all walks of life and we just stick together. I know that we have people here with drug and alcohol problems, but we just try to help them. At the end of the day, we’re all human and everyone needs a chance at life.
“For the first three days after the water was cut off, I brought in water myself – but with 50 people staying here it was really tough and I wasn’t able to do my normal job properly.
“A few of our longer-term residents helped out, but most have no transport – in fact, some of the guys were trying to balance the bottles on their bikes as they rode along! There was a bowser just across the road but people were using it so quickly that there was none left for us.
“As well as having no water, there was no electricity so trying to cook breakfasts for 50 people was really hard. We had three really bad days. Finally, we heard through the council that the Red Cross was delivering water and got the helpline number.
“When the Red Cross arrived, it was like Christmas! Seeing them was just what we needed. They set up a chain gang and delivered the water straight to the door.”
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