When we launched our Fill ’Em Up campaign last year The Big Issue called for empty buildings to be deployed as shelter for homeless people, to stem the rising tide of rough sleeper deaths in the UK.
Last week, the horrifying cost of failing to use the ample resources of vacant shops became all too apparent when 28-year-old Matthew Bloomer, a young father who was sleeping rough in Glasgow, apparently froze to death overnight in a main shopping street.
It is the latest in a shocking spate of deaths of people sleeping on the streets across Britain this winter.
After Matthew’s death a vigil and protest were organised, and calls were issued that the city’s many unused properties be opened up as temporary accommodation.
The next day, this graffiti scrawled on Glasgow’s massive empty city centre BHS store – a brand that has become a symbol for the public’s disgust at corporate greed after it was bled dry and run into the ground making thousands redundant – says it all.
Main image: iStock / Getty / tirc83