24 hour political occupation to highlight the urgent need for more publicly owned housing and the detrimental effect widespread land banking has on working class communities.
Today on Human Rights day we have occupied 190 Trongate. This building has a long history. It was built on the site of Shawfield Mansion which was erected in 1711 and was the scene of an infamous riot in 1725 over a new tax on Scottish Malt. Glaswegians blamed Campbell who was an MP for the passing of the act and sacked the mansion.
More recently the listed building has been renovated to include residential dwelling from the first floor up and a retail unit on the ground floor that to our knowledge has never been let out. Recent firms tasked with managing this lease include Cushman and Wakefield, global property vultures.
Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest commercial real estate services firms with revenues of $6 billion.The firm operates in more than 70 countries and 45,000 employees.
Over the past few months RISE members have been highlighting empty buildings around Scotland. This has been part of a wider campaign to highlight the negative impact that land banking and property gate-keeping has on local working class communities.
We stated that unless these properties were used in a manner that would directly benefit our communities we would take actions to ensure that they were.
As Christmas is approaching, families are forced to stretch household budgets further and deeper into debt, whilst land and property is hoarded and locked off to protect the wealth of a tiny minority. Our continued campaigning will focus on a variety of issues and topics that will highlight the deeply adverse economic and social effects property gate-keeping has on our working class communities.
We feel that present circumstances force us to focus on the pressing housing crisis and struggles people are facing whilst homeless. We commend the great work done by homeless charities and outreach groups, who a providing invaluable help and support to people in our communities. 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.
Latest Scottish Government figures for September 2016 show that there were 35,727 residential properties that had been empty for more than six months, compared with the 34,100 homeless applications made between 1st April 2016 to 31th March 2017. These figures show that the majority of people facing homeslessness 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 unnacceptable.
We believe that only the mass building of publicly owned housing will stand a chance of eradicating homelessness permanently. You can support this by signing our petition to build 100,000 publicly owned houses here
We invite politicians from all parties, Glasgow city council and those who work on the front line of homeless services to come down and provide support to anyone who may seek shelter during the occupation. If the need arises we will accompany anyone seeking emergency accommodation to the appropriate services by marching from the occupation to appropriate services.
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.