RBKC council has issued its re-housing policy statement for residents affected by the Grenfell fire.
Grenfell residents have been sent a letter outlining the re-housing plan and have been invited to accept or reject the councils offer. The re-homing process is ongoing and the council has pledged to rehouse all tenants within twelve months.
At the present time, many people whose homes were destroyed in the fire are living in hotels and other temporary accommodation. Community group Justice4Grenfell has spoken about how volunteers are on call throughout the night to visit and comfort people who have lost their homes. Many find themselves struggling from the after-effects of trauma and feelings of being stranded in unfamiliar temporary accommodation, often in high-rise hotel buildings.
The housing on offer to Grenfell survivors is described as newly built social housing. The policy documents do not state if the housing offered is in the borough. However it does state that residents will choose where they move to.
The housing plan covers several financial considerations and outlines what residents are entitled to. Grenfell households should have already received £5000 from the council, plus £500 for any household members aged 16 and over. Households are now entitled to a Fresh Start grant of £10,000.
The Fresh Start grant funds will come from the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation, the charitable foundation which has received many donations form the public , including those from the recent Gala for Grenfell.
Under the housing plan, rent, service charges and utility bills will be covered for the first year. Moving costs will also be covered.
The plan also addresses potential legal concerns of residents who may be reluctant to engage with the process. Any sub-letting or informal lodging arrangements are covered by the plan, which will re-house such tenants. Also, immigration status will not be taken into account in the rehoming process.
The first band of priority is for households who have been bereaved in the disaster. The policy states that tenants have the right to reject any properties they feel are unsuitable for their needs, and that this will not affect their housing priority.
So far 40 households have accepted the council’s rehoming offer, out of a total of 169 offers made.
“We are really pleased that we can now begin to allocate the first permanent homes to Grenfell residents. This has been a horrendous time and ordeal for all those that have suffered as a result of this fire, and we hope that the securing of permanent homes will give them at least the beginnings of some peace of mind. As ever, we continue to work tirelessly to rehouse all those in need following the Grenfell fire as quickly and sensitively as possible,” said leader of RBKC council, Cllr Elizabeth Campbell.
In related news, the public enquiry consultation period over the Grenfell disaster has been extended to August 4. Local residents and those affected by the fire can make their submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org