Distraught residents of the fire-damaged Marlborough House in St Leonards were in tears as they learned they faced another 17 months away from their homes.
People who lived in the Warrior Square building learned the devastating news at a meeting last week between residents and owners Hyde Housing.
The sheltered accommodation, which was home to 40 disabled and elderly residents, was due to have had all refurbishment work competed within a year after the fire ripped through the building’s roof at the end of July 2013.
That date was subsequently revised to August 2014.
The fire started on the sixth floor.
At last week’s meeting residents were then informed the repairs would not be completed until spring 2016 and many broke down in tears.
They now face a second Christmas living in alternative accommodation and the Christmas of 2015.
In the interim period since the fire four former residents have passed away. A close friend of one former resident, Alison Langdon attended the meeting.
She told the Observer: “This is horrendous news. Some people were openly sobbing and many mentioned the fact that they faced another Christmas away from home.”
A spokeswoman for Hyde Housing said: “Due to the complex scheme and number of parties involved, finalising the specification and beginning the tender process has taken some time.
“We appreciate that this is a difficult period for the residents but will continue to do everything we can to support them and keep them updated on progress.”