Glasgow activists ‘reopen’ disused building to welcome Cop26 visitors | Cop26

The activists of Glasgow have ‘reopened’ a disused building to house climate justice activists visiting the city for the COP26 summit, as those forced to camp due to lack of affordable housing face plummeting temperatures.

Glasgow City Council’s property in Tradeston, a former homeless services unit, has been restored to habitability in recent days by a group of local activists frustrated by reports of visitors being forced to sleep in the street.

In a statement, the Glasgow-based campaigners behind Baile Hoose – as they named the business – said the building “now provides space to sleep and donates food as colder weather descends on the encampments springing up in Glasgow parks…we are aware of activists, including aboriginal elders, sleeping outside due to the lack of available shelter”.

Calling on Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is the MSP for Glasgow Southside, to support their action, they continued: “Given the current housing crisis in the UK, buildings should not sit empty while residents of our communities are sleeping on the streets due to unaffordable, exploitative rents and opportunistic Airbnb hosts.

the Cop26 The Coalition welcomed the occupation, explaining: “Yesterday a group of indigenous people approached us asking for blankets. I asked them why they needed it and they said it was because it was very cold at night as they had planned to sleep outside.

‘We have struggled to find accommodation for people arriving in Glasgow as large numbers arrive and hundreds are left homeless which is even more worrying as the temperature drops.

‘A bubble of utopia’: inside the occupied building that housed activists during Cop26 – video

Ginger, an activist from Bristol who is staying there after struggling to find a bed elsewhere, said: “There was a massive lack of affordable housing in Glasgow, and we are not getting funding to stay here. Also, it is very helpful to be able to stay with people who are here for similar reasons.”

“Cop’s message is about the power and responsibility of world leaders. I think they keep abusing that power, so it’s a way of reclaiming space and doing things differently ourselves.

At previous summits, local governments worked with activists to provide hostel-style accommodation for those who could not afford expensive hotel rooms, converting gyms and community centers into dormitories. Scottish Green Councilor Christy Mearns has lobbied Glasgow City Council to act more creatively, while acknowledging that Covid-19 restrictions have added an extra layer of difficulty this year.

Mearns said: “The council should have done more to provide for these housing issues, especially for people from more marginalized communities whose voices should be heard at the summit. I support the local efforts of people coming together to work around this problem.

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: ‘The former Hamish Allan Center has been closed for years and the building is not safe for human habitation. There are concerns about fire safety and the possible presence of asbestos.

“It was closed as it did not offer acceptable accommodation at the time and residents moved to more suitable properties. Council have not given access to the building and it is a concern that people have moved in . »