Empty London mansion becomes homeless shelter after squatters move in

An empty £15 million (roughly $19 million) London mansion has some new unlikely tenants: a group of squatters who have turned the property into a homeless shelter.

The squatters – Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians, otherwise known by the catchy acronym, ANAL – told The Guardian that they entered the building through an open window earlier this week and have so far accommodated about 25 homeless people.

“It is criminal that there are so many homeless people and at the same time so many empty buildings. Our occupation is highlighting this injustice,” said Tom Fox, one of the squatters, to The Guardian.

ANAL members have reportedly set up movie screenings, are collecting appliances so they can provide food, are offering free clothing, and are planning to host discussions about homelessness and other issues.

The house, in London’s Eaton Square, was bought by Russian oligarch Andrey Goncharenko in 2014. The building reportedly dates back to the 1820s.

In the UK, squatting in residential buildings is illegal and can lead to jail time. Although a squatter can apply to become the registered owner of a property if they have occupied the property continuously for 10 years. [The Guardian]