Homeless Forced Out of Edinburgh for Taylor Swift Fans

May 29, 2024
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Taylor Swift

UNITED KINGDOM | Homeless individuals in Edinburgh are being sent out of the city to make room for tourists flocking to see Taylor Swift perform. Shelter Scotland revealed that it had to send several homeless people to Aberdeen and Glasgow by taxi due to a severe accommodation shortage. One individual was even offered temporary housing as far away as Newcastle. “This is a blatant injustice,” said Shelter Scotland. “Homeless people should not be in direct competition with tourists.”

Edinburgh City Council acknowledged the situation, stating it is working with affected households to find alternative accommodations. The city is bracing for hundreds of thousands of fans who will attend Taylor Swift’s three-night performance at Murrayfield Stadium next month, leading to fierce competition for hotel rooms.

Typically, homeless individuals in Edinburgh receive temporary accommodation such as hotel rooms. However, due to the concert, the city has redirected new cases to other cities.

Shelter Scotland emphasized that there is no evidence of homeless individuals being removed from their current accommodations. However, the legal obligation in Scotland requires offering emergency temporary housing to declared homeless individuals, often fulfilled through hotel stays.

Last November, the council declared a housing emergency due to record homelessness figures, a severe shortage of social rented homes, and skyrocketing private rental costs. The necessity to use tourist accommodations for homeless households is a direct result of this crisis.

Earlier this month, the Scottish government also declared a national housing emergency after pressure from campaigners and opposition parties. Shelter Scotland’s director, Alison Watson, pointed to the situation in Edinburgh as further proof of the urgent housing crisis.

“In Edinburgh, the emergency places houseless people in direct competition with tourists—a blatant injustice,” said Watson. “Our frontline services are witnessing people being told to leave the city to find a bed.”

Watson criticized the need for families experiencing homelessness to move miles away from their jobs, schools, and communities. She called for a different response from the Scottish government and warned that the issue could recur during the city’s Fringe Festival in August.

Edinburgh City Council denied moving tenants out of temporary accommodations specifically for Taylor Swift fans. Housing convenor Councillor Jane Meagher acknowledged the broader housing emergency in Edinburgh, which sometimes necessitates using tourist accommodations as a last resort.

“We are aware of the situation and are working with affected households to find appropriate, alternative accommodations,” said Meagher.