Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council is aiming to have all former residents of Grenfell Tower moved out of emergency hotel accommodation by Christmas, unless they want to stay, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has told MPs .
Mr Javid said the tragic fire , which killed around 80 people in June, left 203 households from the tower and neighbouring Grenfell Walk in need of rehousing.
So far, just 10 of them have moved into permanent new homes, with a further 44 in temporary accommodation, he told the House of Commons Communities Committee on Wednesday (October 11).
Another 40 households have accepted the offer of permanent homes and 17 have taken temporary accommodation, but have not yet moved in.
This leaves 92 households yet to be found new homes, many of whom are living in hotels.
Asked how soon he hoped to find permanent homes for all survivors, Mr Javid said: “Our priority in doing this is to listen very carefully to what each family wants, what they say their needs are and to move at their pace.
“If they change their minds or are unclear as a family whether they want to be near their old homes or be further away or outside the borough, we are giving them time.
“No-one is being pushed at all in any way in trying to reach a decision.
“There are still some families, particularly bereaved families, who are not ready to make a decision and don’t want to engage in the process.”
Mr Javid said the council had already acquired 167 properties for use as permanent homes by Grenfell survivors, and aims to have 300 available by Christmas, including some which may be given to families from social housing near to Grenfell which was damaged by the fire.
The aim was to get all survivors out of emergency accommodation by Christmas, except in cases where individuals say that they wish to remain in their hotel room, said Mr Javid, adding that he had “every reason to believe” that this would be possible.
His comments came shortly after Chancellor Philip Hammond told MPs that the Government will not “automatically step in” to help out councils struggling to fund fire safety measures on tower blocks in the wake of the Grenfell fire.
Afterwards, the council’s deputy leader responsible for the Grenfell response , Kim Taylor-Smith, said: “It is certainly our aim to get families out of hotels as soon as possible, and we will be securing 300 good quality homes by Christmas to make sure we have as many options as possible for survivors and victims.”
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