BY EMILY DAVENPORT AND ROBERT POZARYCKI
A Ridgewood church says that the man who was found dead on a neighborhood street on Friday morning was homeless and froze to death during yesterday’s storm.
According to authorities, at 9:10 a.m. on Nov. 16 officers from the 104th Precinct responded to a 911 call regarding an unconscious male in front of 66-95 Forest Ave. Upon their arrival, they found a 44-year-old man unconscious and unresponsive.
EMS responded to the location and declared the victim dead at the scene. Police indicated that the victim had no visible injuries and could have possibly been intoxicated.
The victim’s identity is being withheld pending proper family notification, but members of the Hungry Monk Rescue Truck — a homeless outreach program operated by the All Saints Catholic Church in Ridgewood — stated that the individual was a homeless man named Arek to whom they ministered.
“This morning we got notice that one of our beloved homeless street partners died on the street last night. Arek froze to death in the rain, on the corner under the train,” Hungry Monk stated in a Facebook post. “The place that he called Home. Rest well in the eternity that promises us no suffering, no poverty, no injustice!”
Councilman Robert Holden also took to Facebook to mourn Arek’s passing, and also repeat his support of local faith-based organizations that provide assistance to the homeless.
“I was very sad to learn that Arek was found unconscious on Forest Avenue this morning. This is a tragic reminder that there are less fortunate who desperately need our help. R.I.P. Arek,” Holden wrote. “As we draw closer to the colder months, please be mindful of any homeless who may be in danger. There are city agencies and nonprofits who can help them.”
The medical examiner will determine the cause of Arek’s death. The investigation is ongoing.
This story was updated on Nov. 16 at 6:55 p.m.