Homeless sent out of the city to make room for Taylor Swift fans

A number of homeless people have been sent out of Edinburgh to make way for tourists ahead of Taylor Swift’s performance in the city, BBC News has learned.
Shelter Scotland said that several homeless people it supports had been sent by taxi to Aberdeen and Glasgow due to a shortage of 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 the affected households to find “appropriate, alternative accommodation.”
Taylor Swift will be performing for three nights at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium next month. Hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to flock to the city, and competition for hotel rooms is fierce.
The housing charity said that people 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 of 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 to offer emergency temporary accommodation to people declared homeless in Scotland, and this can include 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 that the use of tourist accommodation for homeless households was a symptom of that housing emergency.
Earlier this month, the Scottish government also declared a national housing emergency after sustained pressure from campaigners and opposition parties.
Alison Watson, director of Shelter Scotland, said that 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 the city.
“A family going through the trauma of homelessness in Edinburgh should not have to move miles away from their job, school, and community to find emergency accommodation.”
Ms. Watson said that a different response was needed from the Scottish government.
And she added that without change, it could be expected that the issue would recur 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 convener, 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 are aware of the situation and are working with the affected households to find appropriate, alternative accommodation.”

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