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Neighbours tell Gazette they are ‘petrified’ by rough sleeping encampment in King’s Cross estate – but homeless inhabitants just want safe space

PUBLISHED: 16:48 08 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:56 13 November 2018

An encampment of homeless people are living in Delhi Outram Estate in King's Cross. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

An encampment of homeless people are living in Delhi Outram Estate in King's Cross. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

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An encampment of rough sleepers in a King’s Cross estate has left some neighbours “petrified” – but its homeless inhabitants claims they just want somewhere safe to stay.

An encampment of homeless people are living in Delhi Outram Estate in King's Cross. Picture: Lucas CumiskeyAn encampment of homeless people are living in Delhi Outram Estate in King's Cross. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

An encampment of rough sleepers in a King’s Cross estate left some neighbours “petrified” – but its homeless inhabitants said they just wanted somewhere safe to stay.

There were a few makeshift tents, fashioned from tarpaulin and rope thrown up against a brick wall, in the Delhi Outram Estate until the town hall offered the people temporary accommodation.

One neighbour, to afraid to give her name, claimed nine people lived their during the day, with the number rising to 12 at night. But the camp was empty when the Gazette popped by.

“They are setting up tents and making wooden houses in the middle of our estate,” said the anonymous mother. “They’ve been there three weeks near where our bins are.

An encampment of homeless people are living in Delhi Outram Estate in King's Cross. Picture: Lucas CumiskeyAn encampment of homeless people are living in Delhi Outram Estate in King's Cross. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

“The council are saying they can’t do anything and outreach workers are saying they can only advise them.

“Police are coming down every night wasting their time. My kids are petrified. I can’t get my daughter to go to school – she’s so scared to go out. They are screaming all the time.”

The tents were in a walled off square, overlooked by flats, beside the communal bins. And the anonymous mum believes some of the occupants are “crackheads”.

Another neighbour, John Chalice, told the Gazette: “They’re a right two-and-eight, aren’t they [cockney rhyming slang for ‘state’]?”

An encampment of homeless people are living in Delhi Outram Estate in King's Cross. Picture: Lucas CumiskeyAn encampment of homeless people are living in Delhi Outram Estate in King's Cross. Picture: Lucas Cumiskey

John, who wouldn’t give his age but says he’s lived in the block since it was built, added: “All they have been doing is getting shoved around the estate – they keep getting moved.

“They’re just living there but people can’t put their rubbish out and the girls are all frightened.”

Asked why they should be scared, John added: “You don’t want someone poking their head out of your dustbin, do you?

“But, I mean, it could happen to anyone of us, couldn’t it, the way things are going.”

There was a sign fixed to the gate, which read: “It is not my fault I don’t have somewhere to live.

“It is cold and also very dangerous out on the streets, and this is a place that is safe.

“Sorry for any inconvenience.”

In the nearby Bingefield Street Park, a young woman, would wouldn’t give her name, said: “There are a lot of street homeless around Camden.

“I’m homeless myself but I don’t sleep here.”

An Islington Council spokesperson said: “Last week the council’s homeless outreach team helped two people rough sleeping at this site.

“One man was given temporary accommodation on Wednesday Nov 7 and has left the site.

“Earlier in the week a woman staying near the site was booked into temporary accommodation; however she left after one night.

“As of last Friday she had not returned to this site. The council’s outreach team is continuing to look for her and would like to help support her into temporary accommodation. This site will continue to be visited by the outreach team to offer support to anyone found rough sleeping”

That Friday, the council’s housing team removed the temporary structure that had been built at the site. It was uninhabited at the time – the man is still in temporary accommodation.

Islington’s housing boss Cllr Diarmaid Ward added: “We’re working hard with specialist agencies and charities to help rough sleepers in Islington, who are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“We’re pleased to have helped one man who had been rough-sleeping at Delhi Outram Estate into temporary accommodation.

“We very much would like to help the woman who had also been rough-sleeping nearby – our outreach teams will keep looking for her, and we invite her to get in touch so we can offer support.”

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