- Associated Press - Friday, January 9, 2015

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A luxury Delaware hotel that canceled the reservation of a group of homeless people on Christmas night now says it will provide a weekend stay for six homeless people.

The Hotel du Pont’s reversal came Thursday after a story by WDEL-AM about the reservation cancellation. The story caused a social media backlash, including a number of users who dropped the hotel’s Facebook rating from four stars Thursday morning to just 1.5 stars by later in the evening.

The hotel apologized in a statement and called the whole thing a misunderstanding, WDEL reported (https://bit.ly/17pvAzd ).

“Respect for people is a core value of the hotel,” the statement said. “That extends to everyone, including the homeless.”

The hotel said it canceled a reservation for a $640 suite for six homeless people on Christmas night because they wouldn’t have proper identification.

The room had been booked by a Newark man named Matt Senge whose wife used to be homeless. He said he wanted to give the group a treat on Christmas - a warm bed and a hot shower.

Senge said that hotel staff members had been enthusiastic and supportive, but that a staff member contacted him three hours before check-in to cancel. Senge said the person didn’t mention anything about identification but cited the safety of other hotel guests.

“He said verbatim: ‘What if one of those people rapes or robs one of my guests?’” Senge said. “I was devastated.”

In addition to Hotel du Pont’s change of heart Thursday, two other local hotels agreed to put up homeless people for free for limited stays.

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Information from: WDEL-AM, https://www.wdel.com/

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