Airbnb puts up £1,000 bench in Shoreditch to raise awareness of homelessness

If you walk around London, you’ll realise the dire situation of homelessness, though we like to pretend it doesn’t exist.

To shed light on the problem, Airbnb is offering a bench on a Shoreditch high street for £1,000 a night.

The ‘spot in the heart of London’ boasts an ‘open-air environment’ and is close to shops, trains and local nightlife.

The bench isn’t really for rent. Airbnb is raising awareness of the plight of homeless people who are fined a grand for sleeping on the streets, as stipulated by the 1824 Vagrancy Act.

Ridiculous, right?

Airbnb has pictures of the public bench, in its usual listing format, including checking in and out dates.

Also part of the listing is a description of the property described as an ‘entire flat – one guest, one bedroom, one bed, toilet with sink’.

The description reads: ‘All this can be yours for £1000 a night.

Under ‘other things to note’, it says: ‘There were 1,320 prosecutions under the Vagrancy Act in England and Wales in 2018 – a rise of 6%.

The hotel company also included a link to a petition which people can sign to repeal the act.

With Scotland and Ireland already having gotten rid of that law, petitioners are hoping that England too can follow suit.

So far it has 20 signatures but needs 100,000 before it can be taken to parliament.

The deadline to sign it is January 2020 and you can do so here.

But it’s not the first time Airbnb has put up public spaces to draw people to the issue of homelessness.

Benches and dumpsters have been advertised in the U.S for some time for the same reason.

And MP Caroline Lucas has also said Airbnbs must be controlled in areas with high numbers of homeless people.

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