TRIBUTES have been paid to a man who died at a Worcester hostel for homeless people – and his sister has praised the staff there for the way they treated him.

Ian Burrows, who was 48, was found dead at St Paul's in Tallow Hill on November 23. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

Hostel staff found him during routine welfare checks and paramedics and police were called to the scene at around 10.15pm.

Sam Empson, Ian’s step-sister, said she was disappointed that some people had 'used' her brother's death to criticise the hostel on social media.

“Ian had received a life-time ban from the hostel some years ago but the current leadership at St Paul’s lifted it and took it upon themselves to help Ian," she said.

"The public must be reminded that St Pauls Hostel is a place of safety for adults with various degrees of mental health and addictions.

"The hostel is not a care or nursing home but is a hostel where there is help and support if that person chooses to use the help put forward to them.”

Sam added: “Like Ian there are many residents who most often will not engage with this support and will continue with their lives as they choose to.

"I am more than happy with all the support by St Paul’s and I am disappointed that particular people are using a person’s sad and unfortunate ending to life to try to satisfy their own disgruntled ends.

"This will unfortunately not change the dreadful circumstances that happened on November 23, 2019.”

Staff at St Paul’s said Ian will be remembered as remarkably quiet, always polite, and a fan of watching TV, or sitting in the garden with a cigarette.

Ginette Sadler, trauma informed practice manager at St Paul’s, said: “We believe people can change so took the decision last year to allow Ian sanctuary at St Paul’s.

"Ian was well known to many in Worcester during the time when he slept rough or came to our night shelter. Ian had friends here and it is an immensely sad moment for them and his family.”

A spokesman for the hostel said: "St Paul’s have been helping the homeless in Worcestershire for 43 years.

"It is a fact single homeless people have multiple medical conditions, often battle with mental health and addictions. The Care Quality Commission does not oversee homeless hostels so they are not delivering ‘care’ but ‘support’ including accredited counselling. The hostel follows West Midlands safeguarding policies and procedures."

Ginette added: “We are trying to help single homeless people who have care and support needs but do not meet the thresholds for adult social care.

“The team do a brilliant job, without all the resources they need and for a group of people who many in society just walk by.

"The vitriolic words by a few individuals on social media really is beyond the pale.

"Ian’s tragic death is not the first in our 43-year history and sadly I doubt it will be the last”

Ian will be buried on Friday December 20 at Fladbury Crematorium.

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