‘Homeless’ man is found dead in Camden Town park

Camden Council aims to open winter shelter for rough sleepers

Sunday, 10th November 2019 — By Samantha Booth

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FLOWERS have been placed at the spot where a man was found dead in a small Camden Town park on Monday morning. The death in College Gardens is not being treated as suspicious, although a file is being prepared for the coroner’s court at St Pancras.

The man, believed to be in his 50s, had not yet been formally identified last night (Wednesday) but the New Journal understands a line of enquiry is that he may have been known to homeless outreach services in the borough and may have been staying at a hostel. He was found at around 7am on Monday close to a bench. The cause of death has not been confirmed. A Camden Council spokesman said: “This is an extremely sad case and we are supporting the police to identify the individual.”

Between July and September this year, 265 rough sleepers were counted on Camden’s streets, up on the previous three months by 82. The CHAIN (Combined Homelessness And Information Network) ­statistics, commissioned and funded by the Greater London Authority and managed by St Mungo’s, also show that this is down 16 on the same period last year.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics last month named Camden as the ninth-worst borough for homeless deaths in the country. The figure has fallen from the year before, when 15 street homeless deaths were reported.

Camden cabinet councillor Nadia Shah said: “We are doing so much to support people who are homeless, so it is devastating to see that there are still homeless people who are dying in Camden. “The challenges we face are significant – we have the second-highest number of rough sleepers coming through Camden out of any area in the UK. “However, we need the Government to do more, to make ending homelessness a priority and back us to build more council housing.”

Jon Glackin, from homeless project Streets Kitchen, who hand out food to rough sleepers outside Camden Town tube station, said he is yet to get confirmation if the man was homeless but said another death on the streets is “not natural”.

He added: “Too many of our homeless and vulnerable friends are dying before their time due to an acute lack of support services.”

Mr Glackin added that they sadly see the “extreme results” of funding cuts far too often. The council has applied for permission to use a building on Chalk Farm Road as an emergency cold weather shelter for up to 25 EEA (European Economic Area) rough sleepers for six north London boroughs. Last winter, an unidentified man was found dead in a doorway in Chalk Farm Road.

The average life expectancy of a homeless person in the UK, 43, is now almost half that of a settled person.

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