News: Condolences for Gyula Remes

We are very sad and sorry to hear about the death of Gyula Remes, and would like to extend our condolences to his family and friends.

We worked closely with Gyula and will remember him as a funny, charming and amiable man – he always had a smile on his face and was well-liked by everyone who worked with him. Just before his death he told us he was working part-time as a kitchen porter, and working towards getting into full-time employment. We were also helping him to get into a night shelter whilst he secured a full-time job.

Pam Orchard, Chief Executive at the Connection at St Martins, said “Gyula was a person with family and friends, strengths, passions and hopes for the future. It is very sad that he has died just as his life was turning around. Under the wrong circumstances, homelessness could happen to almost anyone.”

Rough sleeping across London has been increasing since 2010 and is up 17% on this time last year. Some 3,000 people were found sleeping on the streets this year in Westminster alone.[1]

At the Connection, we are working hard with other agencies and the council to get these vulnerable people safely off the streets as quickly as possible. For some people, however, this is a very complex job.

Homelessness is caused by a combination of issues. This includes a major shortage of affordable, stable and decent accommodation alongside people experiencing relationship breakdowns, abuse, or trauma which leaves them very vulnerable.

Austerity has also had its impact. Vital funding for support like drug and alcohol, mental health and supported accommodation services to help people when they fall on hard times has been chipped away. Londoners see the results of this every day as we look around and see more and more people sleeping on our streets.

Therefore, successfully tackling homelessness and rough sleeping means providing stable accommodation and help with the underlying issues that cause someone to reach their crisis situation.

At the Connection we’d like to see a Housing First approach adopted for rough sleepers in Westminster to make 1,000 affordable, long-term tenancies available outside of central London.

We also need investment in a mobile, street-based treatment service within the borough to enable those with mental health, drug and/ or alcohol problems to get the longer-term support they so badly need.

We hugely appreciate the amazingly generous support we receive from the public, especially at Christmas. Without this support we couldn’t continue our vital work helping some of society’s most vulnerable.

Unfortunately, eradicating rough sleeping won’t happen overnight; we welcome the government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy, announced in August, which aims to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it completely in ten years.

There is a lot to do to achieve that. If you would like to find out more about or support our work, please visit our information pages.


[1] Source: Data from CHAIN