Housing association slammed after debt-ridden Kilburn tenant dies under tragic circumstances

Genesis have been criticised after Nygell Firminger is believed to have taken his own life

A housing association has been slammed for putting ‘money over welfare’ after a popular Kilburn resident was thought to have taken his own life because he was hounded for rent and debts.

Nygell Firminger was found dead in his flat in Cambridge Avenue, South Kilburn, in April, yet friends were left unaware of his death until last month.

Speaking to the Times, one of his closest friends, who wished only to be known as Nick described an ‘incredibly well loved person’ but claimed he had been let down by Genesis Housing Association after he sunk into depression after losing his job.

He said: “There should have been a support network in place for Nygell, he clearly felt he had no way out.”

Mr Firminger is said to have first become depressed and become classed as vulnerable resident after the death of his mother in 2004.

However, after losing his job earlier this year he sank back into depression and was unable to pay his rent as his condition meant he failed to claim benefits he was entitled..

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After weeks of letters he was evicted from the home he shared with his mother in April this year.

His friend of more than 20 years continued: “They [Genesis] were fully aware he was a vulnerable resident but still went ahead and evicted him from his family home.

“It had so many happy memories for him, they didn’t need to evict him.”

“He tried really hard to get himself back into the swing of being self supporting but I think he is a victim of the system.”

A prominent member of the Irish community in South Kilburn, Mr Firminger was said to be well loved and often seen in the High Road.

The incident has also attracted the attention of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group, which has expressed concern over ‘counting pennies rather than lives’.

John Tymon, a member of the group, who will be discussing the issue at a public meeting on August 14, said: “Victims of new laws are driving workers like Nygell to despair to the extent that a life such as his is not worth living.

“We believe these are precious young lives, we must not forget him and why he died”.”

A spokesman for Genesis HA said Mr Firminger’s was a ‘tragic incident’.

He added: “We did do everything possible to support Mr Firminger and sustain his tenancy.”

An inquest into Mr Firminger’s death will begin on November 1 at Barnet Cororners Court.