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Grenfell fire: Many survivors still in hotels

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    Grenfell TowerImage copyright Reuters

    All Grenfell Tower fire survivors who want to be rehoused have been offered temporary accommodation, officials say, but only nine offers have been accepted and many are still in hotels.

    Theresa May promised housing would be offered to those in need by Wednesday.

    The Grenfell Response Team says 139 formal offers have now been made.

    But North Kensington Law Centre, which represents many victims, said some had been offered accommodation in other towers, or homes without enough rooms.

    The fire on 14 June killed at least 80 people, although police say the final toll will not be known for many months.

    In the aftermath of the tragedy, the prime minister said 158 families would be offered a good quality temporary home within three weeks – a target the response team said had now been met.

    It said the remaining 19 families did not want to be contacted, or were out of the country.

    However, a spokesman for North Kensington Law Centre – which represents more than 100 Grenfell victims – said many of the offers have been unsuitable.

    Some of the firm’s clients had been offered homes in other high-rise blocks, while some had gone to view a three-bedroom home only to discover it was a two-bedroom flat.

    Many had been offered a year-long tenancy and would need to be permanently rehomed afterwards.

    ‘Traumatised’

    Many victims were “concerned the decision they make now could affect their long-term tenancy”, he added.

    “Doing that from a hotel room is difficult at the best of times, let alone when you are fairly traumatised.”

    He added: “These people do have various complex issues.

    “We are dealing with very traumatised people, we have a limited housing stock, we are working to a tight schedule and there is also a sense of scepticism among some residents.”

    Only three of the firm’s clients had accepted accommodation offers, he added.

    Media playback is unsupported on your device

    Media captionGrenfell Tower survivor Antonio is living in a hotel and has turned down two flats.

    One tenant from the 10th floor of Grenfell Tower, who only gave his name as Antonio, is among those who has turned down the offer of temporary accommodation.

    “We want to move to permanent accommodation so we can remake it and then we can call it home,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.

    ‘Listen to residents’

    It comes amid growing pressure for Sir Martin Moore-Bick – the judge leading the inquiry into the fire – to stand down.

    Earlier, Labour’s Emma Dent Coad, MP for Kensington, said he was “a technocrat” who lacked “credibility” with victims.

    She said she had spoken to hundreds of people affected by the fire who were unhappy with Sir Martin’s appointment.

    On Monday, lawyers representing some of the families also called for him to quit.

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stopped short of demanding his resignation, but said he should “listen to residents”, while Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned he must urgently improve relations with the area.

    But one senior minister, Lord Chancellor David Lidington, said he had “complete confidence” in Sir Martin, whom he believed would lead the inquiry “with impartiality and a determination to get to the truth and see justice done”.

    Media playback is unsupported on your device

    Media captionEmma Dent Coad tells BBC’s Today a “technocrat” is not what’s needed

    On Sunday, Labour MP David Lammy said a “white, upper-middle class man” who had “never” visited a tower block housing estate should not have been appointed.

    Elsewhere, Met Police Commander Stuart Cundy and Westminster coroner Fiona Wilcox – who will lead will the inquests of the victims of the fire – are holding a private meeting with relatives.

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40497345

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