Resident views on living in temporary accommodation at Kendal Court, Newhaven
Findings published this week by Healthwatch East Sussex highlight the experiences of homeless people placed out of area in Emergency Temporary Accommodation (ETA) at Kendal Court in Newhaven. We found:
- A need for robust needs assessments prior to placement
- A high prevalence of poor mental health amongst residents
- Haphazard provision of essential information and equipment to new residents
- Placements not meeting the needs of people with complex mental health needs
- Residents requiring support experiencing barriers in accessing services
We did identify improvements in the site and its operation since our last review in 2018, including enhanced site security, upgraded facilities, fewer attendances by emergency services and weekly visits by the BHCC Welfare Officer.
Whilst over half of residents were pleased with the accommodation, many expressed concerns that support needs, especially in relation to mental health, were not being met.
Kendal Court (KC) is a site leased and operated by Brighton Hove City Council (BHCC) to provide up to 50 tenants with Emergency/Temporary Accommodation (ETA). Residents come from a range of locations, diverse backgrounds (including prison and rough sleepers), and have varying social and physical needs.
Our independent review, undertaken in August 2021, engaged with 28 of 42 (67%) Kendal Court residents and mirrors a similar process undertaken in 2018. Both were stimulated by local concerns for resident’s welfare. Healthwatch East Sussex returned to Kendal Court to:
- explore and establish the current experiences of people placed by BHCC
- gather their views about suitability of the accommodation and support provision
- learn from residents how they access health, care and wellbeing services; and
- find out if and where any improvements have been made since 2018
In our report, Healthwatch has made eleven recommendations which respond to these issues. We propose that:
- individuals with multiple and complex needs should not be placed at Kendal Court
- thorough housing placement assessments should consider all health and care needs
- mental health support should be pro-actively provided
- clear and consistent information should be provided to all residents in advance of arrival
- resident’s experiences are independently monitored.
Our findings and recommendations have been submitted to the East Sussex Health and Wellbeing Board and will be reviewed at the Board’s 30th September meeting. The report has also been shared with Brighton and Hove City Council and other local stakeholders.
Healthwatch East Sussex will continue to work in partnership with Kendal Court residents and others as part of our wider programme to monitor the experiences of people living in emergency temporary accommodation across East Sussex.