Three homeless deaths in Redbridge have been counted among the more than 550 people who have died sleeping rough in the UK since October 2017.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism launched a campaign last year to count the number of people who have died on the country’s streets, as no official number was available.

Today the group has updated its figures and a total of 554 homeless deaths have occurred in the UK since the count first began.

Three of those deaths occurred on the streets of Redbridge, two in November 2017 and one in August 2018.

Kawal Singh, 61, died outside a Redbridge Council office in Ilford. He had been living rough in the borough for nine years after moving to the capital from India.

After losing a job, Mr Singh made numerous appeals to the council to help him get back to his home country, but never made it.

Ryszard Najdek, 60, died in Redbridge in November 2017 and Balbaar Singh died in the same month aged 42.

Following news of the deaths, Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, said: “Migrant homelessness is not recorded properly. There is a hidden homelessness within the migrant community, which often involves children and people are dying on our streets.

“Homelessness has more than doubled since this Conservative government came to power. The government needs to end its immigration policy of a hostile environment now.

“This council will look after its residents, if we have to go it alone then so be it. We will work tirelessly towards that.”

Cllr Farah Hussain, cabinet member for housing and homelessness at the authority, added: “The safety net for these people is shrinking.

“We shouldn’t have to jump through hoops for funding that we know we need.

“The high levels of homelessness on Britain’s streets? That is this government’s choice.”

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s figures, the national number of homeless deaths has risen 169 per cent since 2010.

The bureau’s project has provoked widespread outrage and the government pledged to make sure deaths were investigated by local authorities so that lessons could be learned.

James Brokenshire, the Government’s Housing Secretary, described the bureau’s figures as “utterly shocking” and said: “It is so important that we understand what has caused those deaths, by actually having serious case reviews.”

However, the government has admitted it has not offered any extra funding or support to councils to help them do this.

Matt Downie, director of policy at the homelessness charity Crisis, said: “It is a failure of the largest magnitude that in one of the world’s richest nations, people with nowhere to turn are dying.

“This has to stop and the government must put in place a full-scale plan to end homelessness once and for all.”

The company is appealing to the public to make them aware of any homeless deaths in their area, which will be verified with local homeless charities, the coroner’s office and other officials.

A list of all known homeless deaths since October 2017 is being compiled on the Bureau’s website.

On October 8, the Office of National Statistics announced it would begin putting together its own list of homeless deaths, which is due for publication on December 20 this year.

According to Redbridge Council’s official homeless count, there are currently 65 homeless individuals on the borough’s streets – 60 men and five women.

In response to a Freedom of Information Request, the authority revealed it has dealt with more than 4,000 cases of homelessness in the last four years, 2,955 of which involved families with children.

Caroline Bruce, corporate director of place for the council, said: “The council is working to reduce homelessness in the borough by focusing on prevention and early intervention to stop evictions happening, procuring more local good quality temporary accommodation and increasing the supply of genuinely affordable social housing through development.”

Residents can alert the council to rough sleepers through the Streetlink website or app. Rough sleepers can then be located and offered support.

To report a homeless death in your area to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, click here:

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