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Vigil to be held in memory of homeless man Musa who died in Stoke Newington bus stop

PUBLISHED: 18:07 31 July 2019 | UPDATED: 22:25 31 July 2019

Musa, pictured in summer 2018. Picture: Mauro Cocilio

Musa, pictured in summer 2018. Picture: Mauro Cocilio

Archant

Mourners will hold a vigil in memory of Musa, the homeless man who died yesterday in the Stoke Newington bus stop he was living in.

Musa, pictured in summer 2018. Picture: Mauro CocilioMusa, pictured in summer 2018. Picture: Mauro Cocilio

Homeless outreach group Streets Kitchen have arranged the gathering, which will take place at the Princess May Road bus stop in Stoke Newington Road at 7pm on Friday.

Musa, understood to have been in his early 60s, was a fixture in the area for years. He had close ties to the Halkevi Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre, which used to be in the building behind the bus stop, now vintage store Beyond Retro.

Believed to be a shoemaker by trade, he is also remembered for working as a shoe polisher in the area.

One person recalled: "For years he used to work on the high street as a shoe polisher, visiting Turkish social clubs and community places and minicabs.

"He had a very ornate brass shoes polish box. That's how I remember him. You could see him all the time up and down the road."

Musa had been camped in the bus stop on and off for about a year. He had accepted support late last year before returning in April.

His death in the early hours of the morning has rocked the community, with many saying they had repeatedly reported his situation and that more should have been done to help him.

Hackney Council says Musa repeatedly refused assistance from outreach groups, but has launched a review to ensure he was offered the correct support.

Ngozi Fulani, founder of domestic abuse charity Sistah Space, believes Musa lacked capacity to make his own decisions and was "left to die".

She told the Gazette: "People would leave him food and bottles of water, particularly last week on the hottest day of the year, but he wouldn't even drink it.

"I'm just so angry and sad. He died on the high street like a discarded piece of rubbish."

Mauro Cocilio photographed Musa last summer as part of a project documenting homelessness on the streets of London.

"I chatted to him and he was quite friendly," Mauro told the Gazette. "I don't remember if he was already sleeping there but he had a bag with him.

"I would stop quite a few times to give him food after that. Sometimes he accepted and sometimes he didn't."

Ngozi has launched a £2,000 crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a memorial bench or plaque to honour Musa. It has raised £730 already.

Hackney mayor Phil Glanville said the outreach teams who had been working with Musa until his death were devastated.

He said: "No one should die on the streets of Hackney in these circumstances. I know this situation and the tragic circumstances surrounding his death have had a significant impact on the wider community and all also those who sought to support him."

Mr Glanville said the town hall's rough sleeping outreach team had been working intensively with Musa and had offered him accommodation earlier in the summer, but weren't able to convince him to accept help.

Donate to Ngzoi's fundraiser here.

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