PEOPLE are being asked to help compile a true picture of homelessness in Cumbria as it is revealed 90 people without a permanent home died nationwide this winter.

A new investigation has been launched to record the number of those who have lost their lives on the streets or without a permanent address since October.

At least three homeless people died in Cumbria in 2016; 60-year-old Paul Hawkrigg, who had kept his homelessness a secret, and 38-year-old Terry Newby, both from Barrow, in October that year.

Derek Flynn, 55, who had been among a number of homeless people sleeping rough in Ambleside, died just a month later after falling into the River Rothay.

No-one officially homeless is known to have died in Cumbria this winter - but with no central register to record those who pass away with no fixed abode, the true figure is unknown and hard to reach.

Cumbria's coroner's office confirmed it has not recorded the death of a person without an address this winter.

But often, a relative's address, or 'an address of convenience' is provided on the paperwork, staff said, further masking the extent of the problem.

Officially, there are no rough sleepers in Carlisle, though four people came forward to seek shelter when the storm nicknamed the Beast from the East ravaged the country in March.

All were given emergency accommodation inside by Carlisle City Council.

Similarly, officials within Barrow Borough Council say no-one is listed as sleeping rough in their town following the annual, mandatory count in November.

But staff at Barrow Foodbank, run by The Trussell Trust, said a number of people of no fixed abode attend regularly.

Alison Griffiths, warehouse manager, said some were living in tents, with nine people given rucksacks containing dry clothes, food and cutlery, as well as a flask, stove and gas canister to enable them to heat food in the open air in the past year.

Mrs Griffiths added: "We know there are sofa surfers and people living in tents who come to us. But they don't want anyone to know."

Now, people are asked to get in touch with information they have about anyone who has died while homeless, including those in temporary accommodation, over the winter.

The information will be collated as part of a new project; Dying Homeless, by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as it strives to uncover the plight of homeless people who die on the streets around the UK.

Already, 90 people have been found to have died since October last year - 11 in the north west - including a quantum physicist shortlisted to work alongside Stephen Hawking and a young man who died near to the Palace of Westminster.

Among them are those who were sleeping in tents, doorways or under bridges despite sub zero temperatures.

But it also includes people who were classed as statutory homeless - those who were staying in temporary accommodation such as bed and breakfasts, or individuals who died in hospital after a life on the streets.

Matt Downie, director of policy and external affairs at Crisis, said: "The Bureau’s figures are a devastating reminder that rough sleeping is beyond dangerous – it’s deadly, and it’s claiming more and more lives each year.

"Those sleeping on our streets are exposed to everything from sub-zero temperatures to violence and abuse and fatal illnesses.

"They are 17 times more likely to be a victim of violence, twice as likely to die from infections, and nine times more likely to commit suicide.

"What’s worse, we know these figures are likely to be an underestimate."

Anyone who would like to report the death of someone sleeping rough, or who was homeless, can do so online at - or by emailing