THE council is “washing its hands” of homeless people once they have been housed, according to a group of former rough sleepers.

Kevin Aling, 61, Gordon Wilkie, 45, and Andrew Ellis, 54, say homeless people in Brighton are crammed into temporary accommodation “like cattle” and exposed to unsafe, unsanitary conditions – something the council denies.

Kevin, who has been on and off the streets for almost 50 years, now lives in a council building on Grand Parade.

He said: “It’s like a cattle farm in there. We shouldn’t be housed in these conditions. The council’s temporary accommodation is designed to get as many people in as possible. It’s overcrowded and the council doesn’t care about our safety.”

The three men accused the council of neglecting those in temporary accommodation, ignoring complaints, and failing to address their safety concerns.

Kevin said: “The council thinks that once we’re off the street they can wash their hands of us. What they don’t realise is that they’ve got to help keep us off the street.”

The three men showed footage of fire alarms at the address in Grand Parade wrongly displaying alerts.

Kevin said: “It says there are fires in zones 2,6, and 9. It’s faulty. It goes on and off all the time. How are we supposed to know if there’s a fire? The buildings just aren’t safe. I’ve been so angry and worried about it. I called up the fire brigade to warn them on Thursday.”

The men said people in temporary accommodation are living in squalid conditions.

Kevin said the building “stinks” of urine. “When I moved in the mattress stank – everything does”, he said.

“No one in that council has been where we are. We’re treated like stuff they wipe off their shoes.

“They just can’t cope with the number of people on the street. And they’re not listening to our complaints. If they want me to go back and die on the street, I’ll do it.”

All three men said it had been difficult to access even the most basic council accommodation.

Kevin said: “I’ve been on the street since I was 13. It’s been so hard for me to get somewhere to live.”

Gordon and Andrew, who now live in temporary accommodation in Hove, said they had previously stayed in the notorious Kendal Court, an emergency accommodation block in Newhaven.

Andrew said: “We used to call it dead man’s court. There were so many suicides. We struggled to keep our heads straight in there.”

Between 2017-2019, 31 people died while living in council-run temporary accommodation.

At Kendal Court in 2017, five people died in just two months.

A report in January 2019 found residents there could not access the services they needed, and many felt unsafe.

The council described Kendal Court as a “modern building” which “provides good quality, self-contained studio flats”.

A council spokesman said: “There is an acute shortage of affordable accommodation in the city of Brighton and Hove. We provide accommodation for everyone who we have a legal duty to house, and we will continue to do so.

“The accommodation we use – whether it be owned by the council or leased from other organisations – meets government guidelines.

“The support we offer to residents in our temporary accommodation is also consistent with national guidelines.

“Each request for accommodation is considered on its individual merits.

“Virtually all councils have a local connection policy.

“In instances where we do not have a duty to house people from elsewhere, we offer them support to help them connect with services they need elsewhere in an area where they are eligible for support.

“However, we cannot force people to accept this support.

“Kendal Court is a modern building and we consider it to be basic accommodation that provides good quality, self-contained studio flats.

“We have a dedicated member of our welfare officer team who has sole responsibility for Kendal Court and who regularly visits all of the residents there.

“We are aware of an issue with the alarms triggering at 17-19 Grand Parade, and the contractors who manage this accommodation for us are dealing with it.”