Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds 'tent city' protest ends as housing is secured

a groups of tents
Image caption The group set up in Park Square during the campaign in Leeds

Campaigners who set up a "tent city" to highlight the issue of homelessness in Leeds have ended an 18-day protest.

The group, known as Leeds Voice for the Homeless pitched dozens of tents at four different sites.

They claim the protest helped secure permanent or temporary housing for 31 homeless people.

The council says 15 people already had accommodation, but another 10 have been given a place to stay.

It added that six other people had been refused help and could not receive support "due to their status in this country".

In a statement, the council said: "The ultimate aim of the protesters, council and our partners have been met and we've been able to help people in need.

'Not hidden away'

"We hope this demonstrates what can be achieved by working constructively and positively with those that provide services rather than working against us."

The group started its protest on the 21 September by pitching tents in Victoria Gardens outside the city's art gallery.

The camp was moved to make way for the Yorkshire Olympic athletes' homecoming parade after Leeds City Council obtained a court order.

The group then moved to Park Square, where more than 70 tents were put up.

After a hearing at Leeds county court, the council agreed to let the group use the site of the city's former international swimming pool for six weeks.

They then moved to their final site on University of Leeds land.

During the campaign the group used tents that had been abandoned at Leeds Festival and were given to the city's homeless.

"I just hope that Leeds City Council now realise that the public want the homeless to be given help and supported accommodation, not hidden away, excluded from the city centre and buried in statistics," said Simon Rickets, a volunteer with the group.

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