Another death at Newhaven accommodation used by Brighton for homeless placements

Another death at Newhaven accommodation used by Brighton and Hove for homeless placements has been confirmed by police.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 4:26 pm
Kendal Court, Newhaven

Earlier this month East Sussex County Council said it has ‘significant concerns’ about the way Brighton and Hove City Council is placing its homeless residents in the county.

And many of these concerns centred around BHCC’s use of Kendal Court in Newhaven, where eight residents died between 2016 and 2018, as short term emergency accommodation.

A Sussex Police spokesman confirmed that a 58-year-old man was found dead in his Kendal Court flat on Friday morning (July 23). There were no suspicious circumstances and the coroners officer is continuing with their enquires.

The force was also called to Kendal Court two days later on Sunday morning (July 25) after a man sustained superficial arm injuries. No other person was involved and no arrests were made, a police spokesman said.

A spokesman from Brighton and Hove City Council said: “We were very sorry to learn of the recent death of a resident of Kendal Court. Our hearts go out to their loved ones, and also to the social care staff who were supporting them.

“To our knowledge the cause of death is not known at this stage. This will be investigated.

“Each instance of homelessness is a tragedy for the individuals involved. We work extremely hard to help people avoid this situation, and to support them when they do.

“We try to accommodate people within Brighton & Hove where we can, and are working to develop more options within the city.

“Over the last few months we opened our first council-owned and managed high quality emergency accommodation block within the city. However the scale of demand for accommodation is in excess of what we can provide within the city at the current time.

“Kendal Court is self-contained short-term accommodation which is of a relatively good quality. But the quality of accommodation is only one factor affecting residents’ wellbeing.

“We have a dedicated welfare officer team supporting all homeless households in our emergency and short term accommodation both within and outside of the city.

“We are also exploring a travel support scheme for residents out of city to connect with community and services.

“We are in regular contact with health colleagues in East Sussex County Council and voluntary and support agencies in the Newhaven area to ensure people placed in the area are supported, and to consider any arising issues.”

An East Sussex Health and Wellbeing Board meeting in the middle of July heard how the county council did not see Kendal Court as an appropriate place for people with complex needs. It argued this view was supported by coroners’ verdicts and an independent report commissioned after the deaths of residents between 2016 and 2018.

According to council papers, BHCC placed 320 homeless households into central Eastbourne or Lewes district ‘without adequate support’, since the ‘Everyone In’ initiative in March 2020.

As of June 14, this figure stood at 237 households, but ESCC says it has not heard details of how BHCC intends to reduce this.

Keith Hinkley, ESCC’s executive director of adult social care and health, said: “The county council has sought assurance from BHCC that it had adequate arrangements in place to assess and support the health and social care needs of the individuals it was accommodating at Kendal Court and that individuals with multiple and complex needs would not be placed [there] and instead be accommodated close to existing support networks.”