The homeless pod shipping containers at 57 Caversham Road near Reading town centre were established by Reading Borough Council as a place to assist up to 40 rough sleepers and vulnerable people.
Each pod comes with necessities for life: a double bed, a shower, a toilet and cooking facilities.
But now the council is being accused of neglecting the vulnerable people living there.
Darren Norgate, 33, who lives on the site, has accused the council of actively ignoring its duty of care as a plethora of maintenance issues need addressing.
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He has reported water supply issues alternating between having no water and flooding, sewage overflowing due to blocked drainage and electricity being intermittent.
Furthermore, the washing machines on site have not been working since October last year.
Mr Norgate suggested that industrial washing machines are needed to facilitate the washing of the 40 people on the site.
He also complained that the water supply to the site is “temperamental” and pipes have frozen up in cold weather.
Mr Norgate said: “The conditions residents face are barbaric and resemble a dystopian world where basic amenities have been left to rot and decay.
“We are unable to keep ourselves clean and there is a significant risk of infections and disease as a result of the conditions we are having to endure.
“Despite numerous pleas to the council for support, we are lucky to even receive a response.
“If we do receive a reply, it is usually unhelpful and requires begging for action to be taken, despite the duties of the council have as our landlord, both morally and legally.”
While the site was built to help vulnerable people, Mr Norgate has argued that the neighbours’ needs are not being met, referring to Maslow’s hierarchy of psychological needs, which includes safety, esteem, belonging and self-love.
He said: “The service was built to help change lives for the better, to support those who have suffered hardships and trauma by being a place of respite and rehabilitating them into society, but it appears the council would rather hide them away and ignore them.
“This is unacceptable and voices are not being heard.
“With regards to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, residents are unable to meet their most fundamental and basic physiological needs to then take the steps in rebuilding their lives.”
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In response, a council spokesperson admitted that there have been maintenance issues on the site.
The spokesperson said: “The modular units on Caversham Road continue to provide an essential service, in particular, though the cold winter months, allowing people who have previously been sleeping rough on Reading’s streets with the opportunity to rebuild their lives through long-term accommodation which sits alongside the essential onsite support they need to break the cycle of rough sleeping.
“It is of course important that residents living at the site are comfortable and the 24/7 wraparound care and support onsite, provided by our charity partner St Mungo’s, allows regular communication on any issues which arise so that action can be taken where needed.
“The exceptionally cold spells this winter did create some issues at the accommodation with water pipes and heaters, but these have now been rectified.
“Caversham Road is a relatively new site, and as with all new developments, maintenance issues can arise as residents settle in.
“There have been issues with the washing machines failing and the manufacturer has committed to replace these if they continue to fail.
“We have additionally advised tenants of items that they shouldn’t flush down the toilets as this is the reason for the issue with a blocked drain.
“A macerator has now been installed by contractors as a prevention measure to help dispose of unwanted waste that should not be flushed.”
The homeless pods were established in November 2021.