A HOMELESS man died on the streets of Basildon over the weekend – just a week before winter night shelters open.

Initial reports suggested three homeless people died within the last week, but the council has confirmed only one death took place.

Night shelters will open from Monday next week.

Exact details of the death have not been released, although it is believed the man was discovered on Sunday morning, close to Asda in Basildon town centre.

Council leader Gavin Callaghan said: “It is heartbreaking that people can die on our streets and our thoughts are with all those affected.

“We are absolutely committed to doing our best for our most vulnerable residents and I would implore anyone, if they see someone in need, to contact Streetlink so that we can put support in place for them.

"We expanded our night shelter to 7 days a week two years ago to make sure that people had a place to go once the temperature dipped and will continue to do all we can with the resources we have.”

Phyl McLaren, chairman of the Basildon Homelessness Working Group, added: “The advice I give to any homeless people is simple. Come to St Martin’s pastoral centre on Monday, they will have hot food and a hot drink and will take the names of people who want to visit the shelter and will allocate a space.

“There are members of the homeless community who prefer to be on the streets and that is their choice, and a lot of a time you won’t be able to convince them otherwise.

“We provide a safe and secure shelter where we have helped countless people in the last four years, and that is thanks to our volunteers and members who will continue to do that hard work.”

Basildon Emergency Night Shelter will run from Monday until March 31.

Homeless people can visit St Martin’s Church pastoral centre on Monday to be allocated a space for the week.

A Basildon Council spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of the death, but cannot confirm the cause. The council works to ensure support is available to homeless people. This individual was known to us and had been offered help.”