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Housing and social worker support for Grenfell Tower victims

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None of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster have been offered accommodation outside of London, according to Kensington & Chelsea RBC’s leader.

One week after a fire ripped through the 24-storey building, resulting in the deaths of least 79 people, 250 households have been placed in temporary accommodation. They are now waiting to be found permanent homes to move into.

Kensington & Chelsea’s leader Nicholas Paget-Brown (Con) said: “The government has committed to re-housing all residents within three weeks of the disaster and as close to the Grenfell Tower as possible. We are committed to helping deliver that promise, and no residents have been offered accommodation outside of central London.”

Last week, the council had warned: “While we will try do our upmost to ensure those affected remain in or near the borough, given the number of households involved, it is possible the council will have to explore housing options that may become available in other parts of the capital.”

Kensington & Chelsea RBC’s initial response to the Grenfell Tower fire disaster has been criticised. After prime minister Theresa May said the “support on the ground… in the initial hours after this appalling disaster was not good enough” following a meeting with affected residents on Friday, chief executives and senior officers from nine London boroughs have been drafted in to help co-ordinate the ongoing relief effort.

Cllr Paget-Brown said the council was “doing everything we can to help the families of the victims and the residents to get the help they need as they try to rebuild their lives”.

A social worker has now been allocated to each of the 250 affected households, as well as “other families who live near the tower” in need of assistance, said Cllr Paget-Brown. He added: “They have been visiting families since last week and will be a key support for families going forward.”

In addition to a community assistance centre set up in Westway since last Wednesday morning, a further centre “specifically for the friends and family of the victims and the missing” is to be opened in due course, said Cllr Paget-Brown.

He said he was “heartbroken by the appalling loss of life” and “deeply sorry for all those affected”.

Cllr Paget-Brown expressed “heartfelt thanks to the community, the emergency services, hospitals, charities, volunteer groups, the government and neighbouring local authorities” as well as Kensington & Chelsea’s staff “who have been working tirelessly to try and help all those affected by this terrible event”.

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