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Homelessness charity secures use of iconic hotel

This news post is over 2 years old

Edinburgh’s Old Waverley Hotel will be used as emergency accommodation during the coronavirus outbreak.

An iconic Edinburgh hotel will provide accommodation for homeless people in the city during the coronavirus outbreak.

Bethany Christian Trust and the City of Edinburgh Council have secured the use of the Old Waverley Hotel on Princes Street to offer safe accommodation and hot meals over the next three months.

Support staff from Bethany’s care shelter team will relocate to the hotel where they will work with the council to provide advice, support and positive move on options for guests during their stay.

Meanwhile, hundreds of volunteers will provide fresh ingredients to allow the charity to ensure each guest gets three meals every day.

Alasdair Bennett, chief executive of Bethany Christian Trust, said: “The care shelter has provided 10,000 bed spaces to 730 unique individuals over the last 200 nights, and we are relieved to now also be able to offer self-contained en-suite accommodation to men and women who have already suffered so much without having to be on the streets any longer.

“I am very grateful to the support of an anonymous trust who are providing the resources to extend the staffing into the summer, the council for their proactivity in procuring the hotel beds, the Scottish Government for supporting the initiative with significant additional bed purchases, and the Old Waverley Hotel team for stepping forward to make such a positive difference in saving lives. This means an amazing amount to the people we support and the next step is to turn this moment into permanently improved solutions for rough sleeping predicaments in our shared national homelessness response.”

City of Edinburgh Council has secured the use of a number of hotels across the city to provide refuge while the pandemic is ongoing. Council leader Adam McVey said more than 200 bed spaces will be available for homeless people during the crisis, in addition to 66 private flats.

He added: “The Old Waverley Hotel is the ideal city centre spot and I’m grateful that they’ve partnered with us on this. Edinburgh is a city that pulls together in times of need and this is a perfect example of that attitude. Our thanks go to Bethany’s staff and volunteers, who will be on hand day and night at the new shelter to provide meals and a relaxed space for those in need during this challenging time.”

Leon Kiteley, Old Waverley general manager, said: “We are very pleased to be able to work together in opening up this wonderful hotel as a short-term initiative during the Covid-19 Pandemic to serve people in difficult circumstances. We hope that it will be a springboard for new opportunities and positive next steps for all our guests.”

The service has been warmly welcomed by the hotel’s new guests.

One said: “What everyone's done for us here is just a different world. The kindness in here is amazing. There is so much appreciation for this amongst us all tonight."



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