Posted: Wed 5th Feb 2020

Updated: Wed 26th Feb

Homeless man had been living in a tent for months before death

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 5th, 2020

The death of an Anglesey man whose body was found in a former sweet shop after he’d lived in a tent for months has prompted calls for more to be done for the homeless.
Addressing the Assembly “with a heavy heart” on Wednesday, Anglesey AM Rhun ap Iorwerth urged the Welsh Government to “invest properly” to eradicate homelessness so that such tragic cases cannot happen again.
The body of 35-year-old Paul Daniel Hughes, who was described by Mr ap Iorwerth as being “desperate for assistance” before his death, was found in the former shop on Llangefni’s Church Street on January 10.
According to the AM, Mr Hughes had been living in a tent on the banks of the River Cefni for a number of months prior to his death, after being kicked out of a hostel for stealing a sandwich from one of his housemates.
Mr ap Iorwerth said Mr Hughes had previously admitted to stealing so that he could go to jail and get a roof over his head, after he was made homeless following the death of his mother and with no family to offer him support.
Paying tribute to Mr Hughes, he told Assembly Members that behind the statistics there were “real people”.
Mr ap Iorwerth said: “I am truly saddened to learn of the passing of Paul Daniel Hughes, a homeless man who felt like he had nowhere to turn because of the situation he was in, with very little support available to him to lift him out of the difficult circumstances he found himself in.
“My team actively sought to help Paul, but numerous referrals to local organisations and authorities and interventions failed to bear fruit because of the crippled public services we are forced to work with these days.
“Paul’s death is a reminder that any and all of us can fall on hard times and, when people do face such difficulties, they must have all the support they need to help them recover.
“Paul was a man who genuinely wanted to turn his life around. Dealing with a society and support system that has been ravaged by cuts to resources and funding designed to help with situations like this means that the system utterly failed him.
“It is because of people like Paul that we must invest properly in eradicating homelessness, and nothing but an increase in funding available for this is acceptable.”
In response, Rebecca Evans, the minister for finance, said she was “very sorry” to hear of the tragedy, adding: “Paul’s situation, and those of many people like Paul, can often be a result of difficulty in finding employment.
“But actually bereavement is one of the most prevalent reasons from people I’ve spoken to who have been street homeless, which was quite an eye opener as its not something people often recognise.
“There’s more  work for us to do in terms of bereavement support.
“I’ve heard the messages and we’ve had the chance to discuss this exact issue with local government but, if there is additional funding coming forth, at the final budget I will indicate where these priority areas will be.”

By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter



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