Anger and sadness as homeless man dies in city centre
PUBLISHED: 10:33 12 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:16 14 April 2020
Volunteers have expressed their sadness and anger after a homeless man was found dead “curled up in Debenhams doorway” in Norwich.
In a post on Peoples’ Picnic Facebook page, founder Karen Cully hit out at the authorities, saying they behaved as if they would prefer all homeless people to “disappear”.
The group serves home-cooked meals and other food and delivery of items to those who are homeless and hungry in Norwich.
Norfolk Police confirmed officers had been called out to Orford Place, off Gentleman’s Walk shortly before 8pm on Good Friday.
An investigation has been launched into the circumstances the man’s death, which is not believed to be suspicious.
In the Facebook post, the founder of Peoples’ Picnic wrote: “Some days are just so hard..Last night we lost yet another homeless person who died curled up in Debenhams doorway like the vermin some would like you to think they are. The police driving around in a riot van shouting at them all through loud hailers, telling them to leave the area, and of course just before grassroots are due to arrive.
“I got a parking ticket for driving down St Stephens to take supplies to three people in doorways there, there is only so much one person can carry!
She added: “So I can only come to the conclusion that it would be a lot easier for the council if they all just disappeared. Believe it or not, this is how we are treating HUMAN BEINGS, and the people that are trying so very hard to keep them all fed appear to be public enemy number one.
“It’s a tough enough job without it all being made so much harder by the authorities. Have so many really lost the ability to be kind, caring and compassionate? I despair I really do.”
At the end of March, the Peoples’ Picnic, along with fellow volunteers at the Soup Movement were left heartbroken after the food stall set up to feed the vulnerable was removed by Norwich City Council.
It was later announced that it would not return, even after the coronavirus lockdown had ended.
In a statement Norwich City Council said: “We were desperately sad to learn from police that a man was found dead in Orford Place at 8pm on Friday. He was known to us through Pathways Norwich – a group of expert agencies which engages with rough sleepers all year round.
“The team were immediately in touch with him after he arrived in Norwich a few days ago from a different county. Thanks to their dedication and expertise he was given medical advice and food. To directly assist with this, the city council secured him safe accommodation on Thursday – this being just one of the 46 people we’ve found accommodation for since the coronavirus outbreak.
“Sadly what happened after that is now the subject of a police investigation.
“We remain committed to helping rough sleepers in the city, particularly when it comes to accessing the support and services they need via the Pathways team. We wholeheartedly thank all those involved for their continued hard work and passion to tackle the issue of rough sleeping in Norwich.”