CAMPAIGNERS have seized control of the Old Bank of England building in central Liverpool in the name of the city’s homeless.
Members of the Love Activists group, Occupy and Unite Community have been squatting one of the city’s most iconic buildings since the early hours of Saturday. It had lain empty for around three years.
According to occupiers, the 23,000 square foot building is “a very efficient homeless shelter,” with toilets, showers and plenty of rooms to sleep and socialise.
“We are trying to revitalise the idea of community and nurture that in the form of a homeless shelter, in order to raise awareness for the homeless and housing crisis caused by the banks,” occupier Danny Freeman told the Star.
The newly christened Bank of Love has already helped 15 rough sleepers, who have stayed on the premises overnight.
“What we are looking to do is every evening go and reach out — take hot food out and bring anyone who would like to come back in order to get them off the streets,” said Mr Freeman.
“Give them something positive in their lives, through the community that we nurture here in the form of skill-shares and some sort of artistic performances.”
Occupiers have declined offers of money, but appealed for furniture, food and plants for a rooftop city garden.
An estimated 2,500 people are homeless in Liverpool, with charity the Whitechapel Centre recording a 38 per cent increase in demand since 2011.
Police attended the premises on Saturday but soon left.
In a public statement to the building’s owner, Spanish bank Santander, Love Activists defined the occupation as a “public repossession under articles outlined within the Magna Carta.”
“We are the people and we are returning our assets to the people — community before profit.”