A former homeless services unit in central Glasgow has been reopened to house climate justice campaigners visiting the city for the COP29 summit. ‘Baile Hoose’, located in the former Hamish Allan Centre and asylum seekers’ night shelter on Centre Street, offers sleeping space and donated food as colder weather descends on the encampments springing up in Glasgow’s parks.
The occupation is intended to last for the duration of the COP26 talks, after which the site will be cleared, cleaned and re-secured.
“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,” says Betty from Glasgow, one of the organisers. “We are aware of activists, including Indigenous Elders, who have been sleeping outside due to a lack of available shelter.”
“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. We understand that this property is in the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon’s own constituency of Glasgow Southside and we would welcome her support and solidarity.”
“We hope to provide a hearty Glaswegian welcome as the concerned people of the world present a sustainable alternative to the lip-service, half-measures and inevitable climate chaos proposed by the G20 nations.”
COP26 Coalition have come out in support of our occupation. A person involved in the Coalition said: “Yesterday a group of indigenous people approached us asking for blankets. 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.”
“At this crucial time of global emergency,” continues Betty. “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.”