Activists occupy Glasgow building in demand for public housing

Image courtesy of RISE

Image courtesy of RISE

Protestors staged a 24-hour political occupation of a Glasgow building last weekend to highlight the number of vacant properties in Scotland that could be used to fulfil the “urgent need” for more publicly owned housing.

To mark Human Rights Day, activists from left-wing group RISE Scotland demonstrated at 190 Trongate for 24 hours on Sunday in an attempt to shine a spotlight on the “detrimental effect widespread land banking has had on working class communities”.

The campaigners said they targeted the historical city centre building since its ground floor remains empty despite a £1.5 million renovation in 2015 to transform it into high-end flats and a ground floor retail unit.

A spokesman for the alliance said: “We believe it is imperative to support the work being done by people on the frontline by demanding that society tackles the root causes of homelessness and insecure housing. It is time to take direct political action to further highlight these issues.”

RISE members pointed to government statistics that showed there are more residential properties lying empty for more than six months than there are homeless applications made in a year.

The spokesperson added: “These figures show that the majority of people facing homelessness could be housed over the winter months.

“As these buildings lie empty, working class people forced out onto the streets of our biggest cities are dying. We believe this is unacceptable.

“If this action does not provide the appropriate political stimulus to ensure that everyone is housed during the winter months we are fully prepared to repeat these tactics and others until we feel appropriate action has been taken.”