Blackpool's FORGOTTEN - The homeless living rough next to a MIGRANT HOTEL
GB News has also learned that a Home Office contractor is looking for another three hotels in the Blackpool area to accommodate hundreds more Channel migrants
Homeless people in one of the UK's most deprived towns have told GB News they have become "invisible" as authorities prioritise accommodating Channel migrants over their own citizens.
In Blackpool, the group, including young people and an army veteran, said they were being left to sleep rough on the streets, while more than 300 asylum seekers were being housed just yards away in one of the town's most iconic hotels.
GB News has also learned that a Home Office contractor is looking for another three hotels in the Blackpool area to accommodate hundreds more Channel migrants.
It is a situation that is stoking growing local anger in a town, which is currently celebrating ‘illuminations’ season.
But amidst the bright lights, there is a darker side to the UK's most popular beach resort.
The homeless rate in the local area is twice the national average.
Local authorities across the country are already struggling to cope with the additional burden of accommodating thousands of asylum seekers in their areas.
For towns like Blackpool, the problem is acute, as the services on offer for the growing number of homeless here are under intense strain.
For the past year, the town's Metropole hotel has been home to around 300 hundred mainly male asylum seekers.
In the shadow of the historic hotel, the town's homeless, like 49 year old Sketch, are forced to bed down for the night in nearby shop doorways.
Sketch told us "I'm invisible. I am literally invisible.
"People walk past. They don't even see us."
His story sums up the absurdity of the Channel migrant crisis.
Inside the Metropole, in obvious comfort compared to life on the streets, are those who paid criminal gangs to cross the channel illegally.
While life for the homeless and the vulnerable here seems almost unbearably miserable.
"It's wrong" Sketch said.
"Wrong, because you're looking at the real homeless here.
"And putting them in there and leaving us on the streets, it's wrong."
Among those we saw sleeping rough was British army veteran Gaz.
He suffered post-traumatic stress and a downward spiral saw him end up on the streets.
Lucinda and her boyfriend Jim, both in their early 20s, had just collected food from a street charity.
They said they were desperate to get off the streets but claimed repeated attempts to obtain official help had been pointless as local services had no capacity.
GB News has been told that a Home Office contractor has been actively seeking to requisition three more hotels in Blackpool to house hundreds more asylum seekers.
Blackpool Promotions, which owns five hotels in the area, confirmed it had been approached and made a lucrative offer to house migrants.
The company's operations director John Westhead said they turned down the offer on this occasion. But may well consider it in future.
"It's something we obviously have to consider as an organisation. Some of the figures that are on offer are extremely lucrative.
"It's been a very damaging few years in hospitality and it doesn't look to be getting any easier with the cost-of-living crisis.
"So when something like that comes along, where you guarantee the year and you're full all the time, then yeah I can see quite easily why it would be considered by some.
With 50,000 hotel and bed and breakfast rooms across Blackpool, it is an obvious target for Home Office contractors looking for more migrant accommodation.
Scott Benton, the area's Conservative MP said he would be on the front line of the protests if any further hotels are requisitioned for use by asylum seekers.
"The Home Office know exactly what I will do because I've had this conversation with them multiple times.
"And local people will join me in doing so because this community has far too many challenges already.
"The local authority cannot assimilate and accommodate hundreds and hundreds more asylum seekers in this community."
Blackpool's homeless are desperate for help, but as the local authority is having to house growing numbers of asylum seekers, Sketch and his companions are being forced to carry on sleeping rough.
"It's hard. Last night, an elderly friend of ours fell ill.
"We called the ambulance, but when it arrived his heart rate was really low, he was close to death."
As Blackpool heads towards the winter months, life for those living rough on its streets will only get harder.
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