Here in the UK, Shelter says that it received calls to its free helpline every 22 seconds during its busiest times last Christmas. It fears the situation could be worse this winter.
Generous gestures from members of the public aren't uncommon: two years ago, for example, Dundee student Anna Loudon raised more than £6,600 to help pay for somewhere for a homeless man to recover from open-heart surgery.
And soon after, three teenaged girls from Hartlepool were praised for spending their last £15 on food and a blanket for a local homeless man.
However, not everybody is so generous. This summer, a homeless mum was turned away from the Holiday Inn Express in Stockport, even though a kind-hearted stranger had tried to book and pay for a room for her.
The manager claimed it was because the woman had a history of antisocial behaviour.
Weird and funny hotel stories
Weird and funny hotel stories
A guest at a hotel in Edinburgh called reception from inside the room as he couldn't find the door to get out. The receptionist explained that there was only one door, to which the guest replied, “yes, but is has a do not disturb sign on it”.
At a four-star hotel in Milan, a couple arrived with a booking for a double room for two. A few minutes after checking in, the hotel staff were amazed to see the rest of the family trying to climb into the room over the balcony.
On the terrace of their room at a four-star hotel in New York, a loved-up couple got slightly too amorous, in full view of a board meeting that was being held in the opposite office block. One participant called the reception to complain about the passionate distraction. This clearly wasn’t on the meeting's agenda.
A four-star hotel in Las Vegas reported that a shark had managed to get into the swimming pool of the resort. Hotel staff snapped into action to ensure no gamblers had to play with their lives: a true story that was even on the news.
A guest at a hotel in Barcelona came to reception holding the TV remote control and asked hotel staff how a call could be made with this weird ‘telephone’
Staff of a hotel in Hamburg found a naked, drunk man on the floor of the lobby and put him in an empty room so he could recover. Thirty minutes later another naked, drunk man was found and put in the same room. It later turned out that they were father and son.
A hotel in Spain once had a super-important group of international generals as guests who accidentally left behind a case with an even more important communications device inside. Amazingly, it took a whole month for them to notice it was missing and call the hotel to locate their ‘lost luggage’.
The hotel director of a four-star hotel in Istanbul once had his brother staying in his hotel. He entered his room with a master key to hang out with his brother but found he wasn't there. While he waited for him he helped himself to the contents of the minibar, had a shower and a shave. It was only when the hotel room's occupant returned that the man realised It was not his brother. He was mortified at clearly getting the wrong room!
One early morning a hotel reception in Madrid got a call from a newly married man whose wedding was the previous night. When he woke up there was a man lying next to his wife in bed but neither of them knew who it was and they could not wake him up. It turned out it was a guest returning to the hotel after a night out, who was so drunk he went to what he thought was his room but was actually the unlocked door of the happily married couple.
In a four-star hotel in Dresden the restaurant manager, dressed in black, and the chef, clothed in white, knocked on the door of a room. The guest, an elderly gentleman, opened the door, looked at them saying “Oh, it’s not my time yet to die” and closed the door.