Published: 00:01, 25 June 2016
Concerned people are calling for an inquiry into how a homeless man died in the heart of their community.
The informal gathering was organised by Guy Jordan after he read about the death of Samson Paine.
Mr Jordan, 45, who lives in Strood, used to work with the homeless and wanted to discuss ideas to see if people in the community could do anything to prevent such a death happening again.
Mr Paine, who was a rough sleeper, had been living in a tent in Dock Road in Chatham, close to Medway’s main bus station. His body was discovered last Wednesday, June 15.
Police and paramedics were called to the scene at about 11.30am but Mr Paine had suffered a cardiac arrest and was not breathing.
Inquiries are still ongoing but the coroner has been informed and his death is not being treated as suspicious.
It is now understood he had prior to his death, discharged himself from hospital after an overdose. Sixteen people turned up at the meeting to discuss homeless issues which was held the 10:50 from Victoria micropub in North Street, Strood, this week.
Several who came along shared their experiences of being homeless while others told of their trips out to help provide food and warm clothing to people living on the streets.
"It is tragic that a young vulnerable man has died sleeping rough within central Chatham within sight of the Medway Council offices" - Guy Jordan
They included Tracie Stocker who regularly goes out to give food to people living on the streets and has now set up a fundraising page to raise more money to provide more food.
Others revealed there were quite a few people living in tents in the Great Lines area.
The lively debate ended up with participants deciding to set up a Facebook group to raise awareness of their mission.
They also intend to arrange further meetings to see what they can do to help the situation and to prevent such tragedies happening again.
Many felt agencies such as Medway Council, police and others should be doing more to help people living on the streets.
Mr Jordan said: “Being homeless is a situation any of us could be just two steps away from and cuts by government to local authorities have exacerbated the situation. The people we elected have got to carry the can collectively.
“We care about our community and this problem and I called this meeting after reading the Medway Messenger headline last Friday, which was “The saddest end”.
“It is tragic that a young vulnerable man has died sleeping rough within central Chatham within sight of the Medway Council offices.
“I was delighted by the turn out and now we have an action plan.”
Chas Berry, 54, who lives in Strood, added: “Although we are calling for an inquiry into Samson’s death we want the focus to be on what lessons can be learned by agencies and how to prevent such tragedies in future.
“We will be calling the group Justice For Medway Homeless People.”
More by this authorLynn Cox