CAMPAIGNERS have occupied a former homelessness unit on the Southside of Glasgow to house climate justice campaigners in the city for COP26.
The Hamish Allan Centre and asylum seekers night shelter in Tradeston has been turned into “Baile Hoose” with space for sleeping and accessing donated food.
Organisers said the shelter offers an alternative to encampments that have been appearing in parks as activists, including Indigenous Elders, struggled to find space to stay.
One of the people behind the occupation, Betty, said the action has involved spending several days bringing the empty building up to habitable standards.
She said: “We have spent several days restoring the building to habitability, so we are now ready to offer support and solidarity to all those needing accommodation during the summit.
“We are aware of activists, including Indigenous Elders, who have been sleeping outside due to a lack of available shelter.”
Betty added: “Given the current housing crisis in the UK, buildings should not be left empty while people in our communities are sleeping on the streets due to unaffordable, exploitative rent and opportunistic Air B&B hosts.
“I asked them why they needed them and they said that it was because it is very cold at night, as they were planning on sleeping outside.
“We have been struggling with accommodation for people arriving in Glasgow, as they’re coming in great numbers and hundreds are being left with nowhere to stay, which is even more worrying as the temperature drops.
“Visitors and supporters are directed to the Baile Hoose Facebook page and Twitter for further information including personal and Covid-19 safety policies.”
The occupation is intended to last for the duration of the COP26 talks, after which the site will be cleared, cleaned and re-secured.
Betty added: “It’s vital for everyone to take action to secure the future they want against that which will otherwise be inflicted on us.
“To this end, we will be hosting informal discussions and workshops, so we can learn together, enabling us to develop resilient, community-led strategies to confront the unjust capitalist system that is killing us all.
“With activists from all over the world in Glasgow, this is the perfect opportunity for us to build solidarity amongst our global communities.”
Local councillor Jon Molyneux also added his support to the group.
He said: “I offer my solidarity with those who have taken action – where public institutions have failed – to ensure accommodation for those excluded by COP26 price-gouging and shortages.
“No one should be on the streets.
“If the council can’t support this they must offer a safe alternative.”