Grenfell Tower fire: council officials 'yet to respond to more than 130 offers to rehouse victims'

'There is no lack of volunteers or of offers to help – just lack of coordination and organisation'

Greg Wilford
Saturday 17 June 2017 17:03
The rescue efforts at Grenfell Tower
The rescue efforts at Grenfell Tower

Kensington and Chelsea Council and the borough's tenant management organisation have yet to respond to more than 130 offers to rehouse people who were forced to leave their homes after the Grenfell Tower fire, according to a volunteer helping the relief efforts.

Michal Nachmany offered to host six victims and compiled a list of people willing to put up dispossessed families.

But after submitting the details to both the council and its tenant management organisation, the London School of Economics researcher said that neither had replied to her offers to help those displaced by the fire, which claimed the lives of at least 58 people.

"I know that the emails were received (verified by phone), but I don’t know if any action has been taken," Ms Nachmany told The Guardian.

"Hearing that people are still sleeping on the floor, rather than at least spending the first few days with host families is heartbreaking and outrageous. For example, I offered to host six people.

"Never heard from anyone, and I doubt if any matchmaking was done between the local offers and the people in need.

"There is no lack of volunteers or of offers to help – just lack of coordination and organisation."

Ms Nachmany said she has no idea if any of the offers have been sent on to displaced residents in north Kensington - but council officials insist "all residents of Grenfell Tower who have requested help have been placed in hotels".

"We are now looking to source interim accommodation for those Grenfell Tower residents and also trying to assist, where possible, elderly and vulnerable residents from surrounding areas who have been unable to return to their homes due to the safety cordon," they said in a statement.

"We plan to house residents of Grenfell Tower as locally as we can. But we may well need help from our close neighbours. We want to rehouse people in a good home as quickly as we can. The Council is committed to looking after the immediate and longer-term housing needs of all those affected by the fire."

Residents complained two years ago about the refurbishment of the building being done “using cheap materials” and workmanship that “cut corners”, they told The Independent.

They later claimed that Conservative-led council, owner of the building consumed by fire on Wednesday, had done nothing to address their concerns.

Numerous survivors of the inferno have claimed the exterior cladding - said to be a cheaper and more flammable than another available option to the supplier - was linked to the way the fire spread so rapidly up the outside of the tower.

Minutes from an emergency residents’ meeting held on 17 March 2015 show that more than 100 people living in the block produced a long list of issues about the refurbishment.

Problems raised by residents included “grave concerns at standard of works inside a number of residents’ properties”.

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