A TOTAL of 31 homeless people have died while being temporarily housed by Brighton and Hove City Council in the past two years, a new report shows.

The figures came to light following a spate of deaths at an emergency accommodation block in Newhaven.

Five people died in just two months last summer at Kendal Court. The new report reveals that over the past two years, 12 people have died in emergency accommodation supplied by the council, both in and outside the city, and a further 19 in longer-term temporary accommodation, all within the city.

Of the 31, 14 died of natural causes, six from multiple health problems, three from drugs and two from suicide. The causes of death of the remaining six are not stated in the report.

Among the homeless people in the city who have died is Andrew O’Connell, who was killed in Royal Pavilion Gardens in August this year, aged 54. A man is due to stand trial over his death next year.

The council currently houses 493 households in emergency accommodation, 365 within Brighton and Hove and 128 outside. A further 1,600 households are in longer-term temporary accommodation.

Officers were asked to look at differences in services available in Newhaven and Brighton and Hove.

The report said because of the shortage and high costs of emergency accommodation in the city, all newly homeless households are now initially housed in other areas, including Newhaven.

It said: “Due to the demand for emergency accommodation, invariably there is no availability in the city. We will therefore have to place households out of area initially.

“Some individuals have been banned from emergency accommodation within the city due to serious breaches of their licence agreement, which means that the only option for accommodation is outside of the city.”

An equalities assessment dated 2015 included in the papers notes: “Concerns have been raised that being accommodated outside the city adversely affects some households.

“A range of both internal and external departments and agencies have raised concerns about individuals and households being placed outside the city due to the difficulties that may be experienced regarding such matters as access to schools, medical services etc.

“Most of the support groups that provide help for those in emergency accommodation are not able to effectively offer help for those placed outside the city. This is because their services are restricted or commissioned to work with households only within the city limits.”

The report notes Newhaven has no dedicated drug advice service or mental health service. These are in Eastbourne and Hastings.

In comparison the report shows Brighton and Hove has seven organisations dedicated to supporting the homeless with various housing needs.

A further four organisations offer general health services and support for the homeless, while two others help people with mental health issues and three services help people with substance abuse problems.