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Homeless charity relocates to Old Waverley Hotel in Edinburgh

Edinburgh-based Old Waverley Hotel has been transformed into a care shelter, thanks to a new initiative by national homelessness charity, Bethany Christian Trust and the City of Edinburgh Council.

The charity and council have partnered in providing further hotel accommodation and specialised support for people who would otherwise be sleeping rough in the capital.

Working together on a range of services, the initiative “ensures single occupancy en-suite bedroom accommodation as an alternative venue for Bethany’s Care Shelter” and provides additional temporary accommodation for the local authority.   

The charity is relocating its Care Shelter team of 14 professional support staff to the Old Waverley Hotel on the capital’s iconic Princes Street and council staff are working flexibly at short-notice to join the team during daytime hours to provide advice, support and positive move on options for guests in this new environment. 

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

Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, councillor Adam McVey said the council has been working with a number of hotels to provide it with “suitable and safe accommodation” to help us house anyone without a home. 

He said the response has been encouraging and we’ve now secured more than 200 bed spaces in hotels across the city and 66 additional private flats.

McVey added: “The shelter operated by Bethany Christian Trust is an important refuge for people who might otherwise find themselves rough sleeping, for any number of reasons. These are some of our most vulnerable people and with the outbreak continuing, we’ve been partnering with Bethany to find an alternative place for the shelter they run.”

“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.”

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