Grenfell Tower: How many survivors have permanent homes?

man puts up heart shaped grenfell poster in the shadow of the burnt out towerImage copyright Getty Images

In the immediate aftermath of the fire at Grenfell Tower, Prime Minister Theresa May said that every person made homeless would receive an offer of accommodation within three weeks.

The government quickly clarified that this meant temporary accommodation, not a permanent new home.

Three months on, however, only three out of 196 households who needed rehoming have moved into permanent accommodation offered by the council.

A further four are in the process of making their temporary accommodation permanent.

The 196 households includes people who lived in Grenfell Tower and also those who live nearby whose homes were made uninhabitable by the fire.

The Grenfell Fire Response Team says it has made offers of permanent housing to 38 households, 22 of which have been accepted, but not all have yet moved in.

It says it has 105 homes available to be moved into immediately, and is looking to buy more.

The team, which is made up of local and central government, the Red Cross, the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade, is operating a points-based system to prioritise who gets housing first.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A number of organisations have stepped in to offer free advice

All residents made homeless by the fire have automatically been given enough points to put them ahead of everyone else on the housing list in the Kensington and Chelsea borough.

After that, first priority is being given to the bereaved. Then, other things will be taken into account, such as proximity to children’s schools, a need to be on the ground floor due to a disability, and so on.

Those with the most points will get first pick of the available housing stock.

How the council will choose who gets housing if there is only one suitable unit and more than one family with the same number of points is not clear.

Survivors currently living in temporary houses or flats provided by the council can choose to go through a legal process to stay in them permanently. Four households have asked to do this.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The fire prompted an anti-government protest in June

The response team said it did not want to make anyone move out of hotel rooms before they were ready – even after households have accepted offers of permanent accommodation, they can remain in a hotel room while they move across.

A spokesman for the team said the process would move at a pace that suited the residents.

Some survivors want to remain in the borough, but others want to move out of the area.

The response team says it is working with other councils in the area and further afield to make sure that they recognise the priority of Grenfell residents, and will try to accommodate them in the borough of their request where possible.

There is no formal system of transferring points across boroughs when it comes to housing, so this is being done on an ad hoc basis.

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