Homeless sent out of Edinburgh to make room for Taylor Swift fans

Home UK News Homeless sent out of Edinburgh to make room for Taylor Swift fans
Homeless sent out of Edinburgh to make room for Taylor Swift fans

Reuters Taylor SwiftReuters

Competition for hotel rooms is fierce ahead of the Taylor Swift concerts in Edinburgh

A number of homeless people have been sent out of Edinburgh to make way for tourists ahead of Taylor Swift performing in the city, BBC News has learned.

Shelter Scotland said several homeless people it supports had been sent via taxi to Aberdeen and Glasgow amid a shortage in accommodation, and one person was offered temporary accommodation as far away as Newcastle.

The housing charity said it was “a blatant injustice” for homeless people to be “in direct competition” with tourists.

Edinburgh City Council said it was working with affected households to find “appropriate, alternative accommodation”.

Taylor Swift will be playing three nights at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield stadium next month. Hundreds of thousands of fans are set to flock to the city, and competition for hotel rooms is fierce.

The housing charity said people being declared homeless in Edinburgh who would usually be offered temporary accommodation such as hotels were being sent out of the city due to a severe shortage in accommodation caused by the concert.

There is no evidence of homeless people being removed from accommodation where they are already staying.

There is a legal obligation for people declared homeless in Scotland to be offered emergency temporary accommodation, and this can come in the form of hotels.

The council declared a housing emergency last November, citing record homelessness figures, a severe shortage of social rented homes and spiralling private rental costs.

It said the use of tourist accommodation for homeless households was a symptom of that housing emergency.

EPA Taylor SwiftEPA

Taylor Swift will be playing three nights in Edinburgh next month

Earlier this month, the Scottish government also declared a national housing emergency after sustained pressure from campaigners and opposition parties.

Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson said the situation in Edinburgh was further evidence of the urgency of the country’s housing emergency.

“In Edinburgh that emergency now places people experiencing homelessness in direct competition with tourists; a blatant injustice,” she said.

“Our frontline services are already seeing people in need of a bed tonight being told their only option is to leave of the city.

“A family going through the trauma of homelessness in Edinburgh should not have to move miles from their job, school, and community to find emergency accommodation. “

Ms Watson said a different response was needed from the Scottish government.

And she added that without change, it could be expected that the issue would reoccur during the city’s Fringe Festival in August.

Edinburgh City Council said it was “absolutely not” moving tenants out of temporary accommodation to make way for Taylor Swift fans.

However, its housing convenor Councillor Jane Meagher, said: “It is a symptom of the housing emergency we face in Edinburgh that at times we must use tourist accommodation to house homeless households.

“We know it won’t be available year-round, particularly over the busy summer months, so we use it reluctantly as a last resort.

“We’re aware of the situation and are working with the affected households to find appropriate, alternative accommodation.”

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