Ensure all Grenfell survivors are in suitable accommodation
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Our friends and neighbours deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. They are not 2nd class citizens. If the law says that survivors and families should not be placed in hotel accommodation for longer than 6 weeks, then do not deny them their rights !
On 14 June 2017, our community came together and remarkably stepped in to deliver a service to the community, by the community. We have shown who we are, united, rich, diverse and committed but above all instrumental to shaping the future of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Since day 1, our priority has been to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Grenfell survivors. We have not stopped in our endeavours to support our community and those among us who are most vulnerable. On the ground, we continue to assist the survivors and their families
Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends, our neighbours who died in the most tragic circumstances in recent history. The Grenfell fire was nothing short of a national disaster and as such its response must have no boundaries and we expect that every efforts are made so that they can start to rebuild their lives.
Before our friends, our neighbours can start the healing process, they must be settled in a safe and suitable environment. 7 weeks ago, they were placed in Bed and Breakfast emergency accommodation. Although we appreciate that efforts have been made to secure self contained accommodation for them, many are still living in rooms with some in places as far as Waterloo. Some report that they feel pressurised into accepting accommodation which are not suitable.
In accordance with the Homelessness Code of Guidance 2006, living in bed and breakfast accommodation can be particularly detrimental to the health and development of children. Although we accept that it is at times unavoidable, the Royal Borough of Kensington should take into account factor such as, in the case of families with young children, whether facilities include safe play areas, which are located away from sleeping accommodation and cooking areas. We are told that it is not often the case
We also remind the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea that the legislation prohibits local authorities from using bed and breakfast accommodation for any period (or periods) exceeding 6 weeks, for families with children. Despite the fact that the Prime minister pledged that survivors would be placed in accommodation within 3 weeks of the fire, it has now been 7 weeks since the Grenfell Fire. Although some survivors are now in self contained accomodation, we see little evidence that the statutory suitability assessment were conducted appropriately It is the public’s perception that self contained accommodation were made available specifically for the Grenfell survivors and units are available in Kensington row, Hortensia Road and Tavistock Crescent. Furthermore, it is the public’s perception that the survivors would be offered accommodation and would be separate form the current housing register. In July 2017, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea amended its housing policy to include survivors who will be required to bid for properties
We the community ask that :
- A comprehensive update on the current situation including the reason for the delays is made available to the public as a matter of urgency
- A confirmation that appropriate suitability assessments are conducted consistently and fairly before offers are made
- The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea tell us what reasonable steps they have taken or intend to take to remedy to the breach of their legal obligations
- The Royal Borough of Kensington of Chelsea immediately conduct an impact assessment of its amended Housing policy for Grenfell survivors and consult with them
- The government tell us what steps they have taken to fulfil their pledge to survivors
 The Homeless (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2003, SI no 3326
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