No to slum homeless hostels! Homes for all! This was the message from the dozens of demonstrators who defied the snow to demonstrate at Abbots House homeless hostel in Edinburgh on 17 January.

Edinburgh Council are paying millions to private landlords like the owners of Abbots House who are housing the homeless in disgraceful conditions.

Children are being traumatised by staying in Abbots House. Many rooms have no bathroom and parents report their children are scared to walk down the corridor and use a shared bathroom which has no lock. Abbots House residents told the protesters how they had no proper cooking facilities, no laundry facilities, no access to a fridge.

It is against the law for families to be put in such homeless B&B’s for more than seven days. But one family has just been told they will be in Abbots House for 6 – 8 weeks!

Campaigners demand

  • Stop putting families in homeless B&Bs
  • Take immediate action to drastically improve the appalling conditions in Abbots House and other homeless B&B’s like Almond House
  • Provide more genuine social housing for rent so no-one has to stay in homeless B&B’s


The day after the demo the Council were put on the spot. Pauline Bowie and Johan Collins from Low Income Families Together (LIFT) told the Housing and Economy Committee of the plight of one homeless family in Abbots House. Evicted for rent arrears then dumped by the Council in Abbots House, the family has been split up as the children were “petrified” in the temporary accommodation.

LIFT pointed out that for the sake of humanity and to use public resources more effectively it made much more sense to re-house the family in their old council home which was still lying empty. LIFT pointed out how the Council had failed to keep their promises to improve conditions in the B&B’s, whose appalling state had been exposed last August.

North Edinburgh Action Group activist Willie Black stressed that the Council need to find homeless people accommodation in advance of their eviction date, instead of the brutal practice of telling people to turn up at the council office on their eviction date and just wait…. He also emphasised that Discretionary Housing Payment must be paid in full to all hit by the Benefits Cap, to avoid evictions. More action is needed on this, as the Scottish Government is refusing the campaign’s demand they fund DHP to fully cover the Benefits Cap.

Sparked off by the North Edinburgh mums, the last year has seen an upsurge in action in the capital to assert peoples housing needs against the logic of profit – with more to come, we hope…..

To be put in touch with the campaign groups North Edinburgh Action Group, All About Me, Power to the People and ECAP, email

Further Developments…


The day after the demo, following several months of actions and demonstrations, the City of Edinburgh Council announced they aim to stop putting families into B&B temporary accommodation from June this year.

Edinburgh Evening News: Council Announce They Aim to Stop Putting Families in B&B’s



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