COP26: Activists occupy building to offer accommodation to climate justice campaigners

Accommodation prices in the city skyrocketed, with one AirBnB host attempting to charge a delegate an extra £1,464 to stay

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A group of activists have occupied a building in Glasgow to offer accommodation to Cop26 delegates who struggled to find somewhere to stay.

Part of the Hamish Allan Centre on the city’s south side has been taken over and re-purposed to house people who organisers have said have been forced to sleep in the city’s parks during the climate summit.

Accommodation prices in the city skyrocketed in the lead-up to the conference, with one AirBnB host being forced off the platform after attempting to charge a delegate an extra 2,000 US dollars (£1,464) to stay.

However, activists have created the “Baile Hoose” in the former homeless accommodation building, which was previously empty.

A statement on the group’s Facebook page attributed to one of the organisers known only as Betty 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.”

A sign in the accommodation reads 'Welcome to Baile Hoose'
A sign in the accommodation reads 'Welcome to Baile Hoose'

The activists said the occupation would last for the duration of the summit, when the building would be cleaned and re-secured.

Betty called on support from the First Minister, in whose constituency the building is located.

“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 AirBnb 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.

“Visitors and supporters are directed to the Baile Hoose Facebook page and Twitter for further information including personal and Covid-19 safety policies.”

As well as offering shelter and access to donated food, the activists will also offer a space for climate workshops to ensure they can “learn together” and “enable us to develop resilient, community-led strategies to confront the unjust capitalist system that is killing us all”.

She added: “With activists from all over the world in Glasgow, this is the perfect opportunity for us to build solidarity amongst our global communities.”