RESIDENTS have revealed what life is like inside a notorious temporary accommodation block.

One, an ex-prisoner, said conditions were “worse than jail”.

At least eight people have died at Kendal Court in the last four years. The troubled property in Newhaven is used by Brighton and Hove City Council to house vulnerable people at risk of homelessness. Many staying there have mental health problems.

The council has been criticised for “farming out” people from Brighton and leaving them miles outside the city without proper support – something it denies.

Earlier this month, The Argus reported on the death of 49-year-old Kendal Court resident Shane Hall. Friends said he had not received the help he needed, and spoke of unbearable living conditions at the block.

But the council insisted support is available, and said the accommodation is “of good quality”.

Now, residents have come forward with stories that paint a different picture.

Terry Hughes has been staying at the block for six months. He has “spent a long time in and out of prison” – but believes residents are worse off at Kendal Court.

The 44-year-old said: “You’re left in the middle of nowhere on your own without help. No wonder people are just sitting here dying.”

He spoke of a climate of fear in the block, saying vulnerable people with vastly different needs are kept close together without proper help.

Terry said: “I don’t go out of my room at night – I’m scared. You’d think they’d do something about it, but it’s just mayhem.”

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, shed light on life inside the women’s block.

“We don’t feel safe,” she said. “I’m afraid to go out at night.

“There’s someone here until 4am, but when they leave, there are hours before the caretaker comes when anything can happen.”

One of her friends has died at Kendal Court.

She said: “They’d still be alive today if they weren’t sent here. I don’t think it would have happened anywhere else. You’re just put here and then that’s it. Everyone here is vulnerable.”

Collyn Pollitt, 62, was a close friend of Shane Hall. He was one of the last people to see him before he was found dead in the block last month.

“He might not have died if he hadn’t been living here,” Collyn said.

“This place is like a last stop before the graveyard. There isn’t a life here – it’s just a room. It’s like hell with all these vulnerable neighbours all in one place.

“The doctors, the support for drugs and addiction – it’s all in Brighton.

“There are lots of people here with serious mental health issues. They need help. But all the links to support are so far away it makes it impossible. We’re all so isolated.

“People just sit in their rooms and vegetate until it gets to the stage where they’re taking their own lives.

“There are people who self harm, drug addicts, alcoholics – all these different people who can’t get access to support.

“You’ve got to go into Brighton to bid for other housing, or do it online, but there’s no WiFi here.

“It feels like you can’t get out. I’m just at a loss.”

A council spokesman said: “We are extremely saddened by the death of any person receiving support from the council.

“Kendal Court is self-contained short-term accommodation for people who are homeless. It is of good quality.

“Many people who become homeless are vulnerable and in need of support. There is a chronic shortage of available temporary accommodation within Brighton and Hove. So we also have to make use of available accommodation outside the city.

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

“Since the Covid-19 restrictions, the team have been telephoning people to check on them and try to address any problems or concerns they may have.

“Weekly on-site visits by the team have now recommenced, and these have been positively received by the residents.

“We are continuing to liaise with East Sussex County Council, health colleagues in East Sussex and voluntary and support agencies in the Newhaven area to ensure people placed in Kendal Court are supported.”

“We are in discussions with our existing accommodation providers about installing WiFi in their blocks.

“WiFi will also be part of the specification for the new short term temporary accommodation contract we are about to re-tender.

“This was due to happen earlier in the year, but we had to delay it due to the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions.”