POLITICS
15/02/2018 12:57 GMT | Updated 16/02/2018 08:56 GMT

Homeless Man Who Died Outside Parliament Was Former Portuguese Model

Portuguese national had submitted a job application to become a waiter.

A homeless man who died in a tube entrance just yards from the entrance to Parliament was a Portuguese national and former model, according to a charity.

The man in his 40s, who has not yet been officially named, was a regular at an emergency shelter run by central London homelessness charity The Connection.

Staff there said they had been helping him try to find a job and he had submitted an application form last week - hoping to become a waiter. 

A spokesperson for the charity said they were “deeply saddened” by his death on Wednesday morning.

“He had worked previously as a model and in various hospitality jobs,” they added. 

“He put in a job application to be a waiter as recently as last week. Although he had complex circumstances, he enjoyed singing and regularly attended yoga classes.”

Pam Orchard, the charity’s chief executive, said: “These tragic deaths are not just statistics. Everyone who is homeless is someone’s son or brother or dad. 

“He had strengths, talents and skills but he also had problems and things went very wrong for him.  The support shown by the wider public for him and his situation has been very moving.”

MPs spoke of their shock yesterday as police sealed off the side entrance to the Commons in Westminster tube station where the man was found.

PA Wire/PA Images
Flowers laid at the scene by Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn laid flowers and a personal note at the scene and said politicians could not continue to walk by those living on the streets and do nothing.

The Connection has urged people to contact StreetLink if they are concerned about a rough sleeper - numbers of which are at record highs, with about 200 on the streets in Westminster.

Its workers said they were concerned about a rise in the number of vulnerable people using Spice and other street drugs, which have a devastating effect on their physical and emotional health.

“To prevent further deaths, alongside affordable accommodation, we would like to see greater investment in a specialist clinical treatment service in Westminster for rough sleepers with drug and alcohol and mental health problems,” they told HuffPost UK.

“Every year, in November, The Connection holds a commemoration service in conjunction with [associated charities] St Martin-in-the-Fields and Housing Justice to remember homeless people who have died.

“Everyone who is homeless should also be remembered for their strengths and treated with dignity and respect.”

An inquest into the man’s death is expected to be opened shortly, but police say it is not being treated as suspicious.

A spokesperson for Westminster City Council, whose outreach workers discovered the man unresponsive just after 7.15am and desperately tried to resuscitate him, said: “This is a very sad incident and we will work with police as they establish the cause of death.

“In the meantime, anyone worried about a rough sleeper can visit StreetLink to alert our teams and allow us to provide routes off the street and into safety.”