Formal review launched into homeless accommodation deaths

Kendal Court

A systematic review of all homeless deaths is being carried out by Brighton and Hove City Council as concerns rise over the health of rough sleepers.

This afternoon, councillors are due to discuss a spate of deaths in council-provided emergency and temporary accommodation in the light of five deaths at Kendal Court in Newhaven this year and 31 deaths in council placements over the last two years.

At yesterday’s health and wellbeing board, it was revealed none of those at Kendal Court met the criteria for an adult safeguarding review – but that a wider reviews is in the pipeline.

Spacewords Brighton

Chair Karen Barford said: “We are carrying out a systematic review of all homeless deaths and will agree a way of learning from practise and procedures, in addition to adult safeguarding reviews.

“In Kendal Court none of the deaths [met the criteria for] an adult safeguarding review.”

The issue was discussed after Fiona Sharpe from homelessness charity Galvanise, called for a review into the deaths of every rough sleeper and people in temporary and supported housing provided by the council, and to publish anonymised reports into each investigation.

As well as the 31 deaths reported by the council, Mrs Sharpe said the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has reported 449 homeless people died on the streets last year, with approximately 20 in Brighton and Hove.

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The meeting also heard about a delay opening the winter night shelter in its second year after no organisation tendered to run it. The council-run night shelter opens with 30 beds on 24 November at its original location, the Brighton Centre.

In September the new rough sleeper hub opened with 17 beds and the churches night shelter is open with 15 beds.

The new triggers for the severe weather shelter, which will now be based on “feels-like” temperature to acknowledge wind-chill, will begin at the end of November.

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