Only 26 of 203 Grenfell families living in permanent homes, minister reveals

The response to the Grenfell Tower fire was branded a "disgrace" after the British Government revealed the majority of the families who lost their homes have not been permanently rehoused.

Britain's housing minister Alok Sharma said of the 203 households who previously lived in the tower and on Grenfell Walk, 26 were living in permanent accommodation at the end of last month.

More than half, 130, were living in emergency accommodation and 47 were living in temporary accommodation, Mr Sharma said.

Labour MP David Lammy, who uncovered the figures using a written parliamentary question, said they should be a "source of shame" for the Government and local council.

"Five months on from the Grenfell Tower fire we are seeing an abject failure by the state to support the survivors of this tragedy," he said.

"It is nothing short of a disgrace that 130 households are still living in emergency accommodation in bed and breakfasts.

"These families have been failed by the state time and time again and it should be a source of shame for the Government and the Royal Borough of Kensington (RBKC) and Chelsea that so many of these families will be spending Christmas in a bed and breakfast.

"It is totally unacceptable that only one in eight families have been rehoused in permanent accommodation, and it is clear that the RBKC and DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) teams responsible for supporting and rehousing Grenfell Tower residents are totally unfit for purpose.

"The information I am picking up from people working on the ground, together with the fact that only around a quarter of households have accepted permanent accommodation, clearly tells us that the council is moving far too slowly and that when offers are being made they are being turned down because they are unsuitable or away from workplaces, schools and support networks in North Kensington."

Mr Lammy also asked how many children who previously lived in Grenfell Tower were living in hotels.

In his response, Mr Sharma did not reveal how many children have been rehoused, but said more families are set to move into permanent accommodation as 61 have accepted offers of new homes.

A total of 54 households have accepted offers of temporary homes, meaning those housed in emergency accommodation should fall.

The housing minister said: "The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council is working urgently to move all families affected by the Grenfell tragedy into temporary or settled accommodation at the earliest opportunity.

"The Department for Communities and Local Government is working to support the council in achieving this.

"For each family, we will respect their wishes and give them the time and space to make this transition at their own pace, and in a way that best supports them to recover from this tragedy."

In his other answer, Mr Sharma said DCLG and RBKC were working to ensure residents of Grenfell Tower and Walk are provided new homes in social housing within a year of the June fire.

"London local authorities and housing associations have been proactive in offering accommodation and help to assist.

"However, it is important to get this right and ensure survivors have choice over their housing options," he added.

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