Homeless man dies after spending months living in Stoke Newington bus stop
The man, who was thought to be of Turkish descent, was pronounced dead at the scene after emergency services were called at 6.15am.
He was a fixture in the area, and had been bedding down in a Stoke Newington Road bus shelter, near Princess May Road, since April.
His death has rocked the community, who believe more should have been done to help him.
Hackney Council says he repeatedly refused assistance from outreach groups, but has launched a review to ensure he was offered the correct support.
Mayor Phil Glanville said: “Everyone at the council is deeply saddened to hear of the death of this man and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.
“No one should die on the streets of Hackney in these circumstances. I know this situation and the tragic circumstances surrounding his death have had a significant impact on the wider community and all also those who sought to support him.”
Mr Glanville said the town hall’s rough sleeping outreach team had been working intensively with the man and had offered him accommodation earlier in the summer, but weren’t able to convince him to accept help. They were continuing to work with him before he died.
“The team are deeply upset at his death – all of those working in providing our rough sleeper services care passionately about what they do,” he added.
“Supporting rough sleepers, many of whom may be dealing with broader, complex needs, is not just about providing offers of support – it can take time to build up trust to support people to engage and consent to accessing the support they need.
“Incidents such as this increase our resolve to continue to work to do all we can to support rough sleepers in the round.”
Ngozi Fulani, founder of domestic abuse charity Sistah Space, knew the man, and said she noticed a change in the past three months when he wasn’t responding to concerns from her and others.
She said: “People would leave him food and bottles of water, particularly last week on the hottest day of the year, but he wouldn’t even drink it.”
She contacted the council multiple times and doesn’t think they did enough to help him.
“I’m just so angry and sad. He died on the high street like a discarded piece of rubbish.”
Ngozi has now launched a £2,000 crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a memorial bench or plaque to honour the man.
“This was an avoidable tragedy,” she said. “This homeless man was clearly unable to take care of himself. Allowed to exist on the ground at a bus stop, sleeping in his own filth, is a testament to what is wrong with the world today.”
Another neighbour stated they had contacted the council six weeks ago, and were told to speak to charity Streetlink, which said it was aware of the man’s situation.
“It’s awful,” he said. “I’d offered him a sandwich and drink a couple of times but he was pretty dismissive and confused.”
Jon Glackin, founder of homeless outreach group Streets Kitchen, said he didn’t know the full details of the man’s situation but referenced the fact some rough sleepers have a mistrust of “official agencies”.
“This shouldn’t be happening,” he said. “I don’t know much about this case, but it could be how the help is offered.
“It’s about people’s experiences of the system, it’s all about trust. From the Home Office to local councils you have to be able to trust people.”
As of November, when the official snapshot count was done, there were 23 rough sleepers in Hackney, up from 17 the previous year. The figure only accounts for those who are actually sleeping, about to bed down or are bedded down. Homeless people in hostels or shelters aren’t counted, nor are those who are begging.
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In 2018 the 320,000 people were recorded as homeless in Britain, analysis from housing charity Shelter suggests.
It is a rise of 13,000, or 4%, on last year’s figures and equivalent to 36 new people becoming homeless every day.
London has the highest rate of homelessness, but it is growing fastest in the Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, and north-west England, the analysis says.