Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council has promised to step up its effort to help survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.
It has unveiled a new package of support, shortly after the publication of an interim report by the government-appointed task force.
The local authority says it will focus on making it easier for people to move from emergency to permanent accommodation.
Measures to achieve this include extending the rent-free period for families directly affected for a further year until July 1 2019, while service and utility charges, as well as council tax will also be written off during this time.
In addition, every adult resident who lived at Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk who moves out of emergency accommodation will continue to be offered a £300 per week allowance for the first three months, with each child receiving £150 per week. This will be followed by a further three months of support at £150 per adult per week and £75 per child per week.
The council is also spending £235 million to help secure 300 new properties in the area, to provide survivors and their families with as much choice as possible.
The taskforce’s interim report, published on October 31, found the council failed its community on the night of the fire and in the weeks following.
Among its recommendations were:
- More Pace: The pace of delivery needs to be increased
- Greater empathy and emotional intelligence: These attributes need to be put at the heart of RBKC (Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) recovery plans. The taskforce says it has received accounts from survivors and the wider community of poor treatment on “too many occasions”
- Skills: All officers and councillors need training in how to work with a community that has been traumatised
- Greater Innovation: RBKC should be bolder than it has been in its response
It also states that following “significant change of senior leadership, RBKC is working hard to develop and deliver effective support and services to survivors and the wider community”.
Council deputy leader Cllr Kim Taylor Smith said: “The task force rightly recognises that no local authority could possibly have dealt with a disaster like this alone.
“We still have a huge amount to do, but as these independent experts have concluded, the green shoots of recovery are growing.
“We understand the need to change the council, the way it works, the way it listens, and the way it acts.
“That new leadership is in place, we have a dedicated team working around the clock to meet survivors’ needs and are announcing an unprecedented rehousing support package to help those affected by this devastating fire.
“We want to help get everyone that wants to move into a new home the opportunity to do so by Christmas.”
Most of the properties will be close to Grenfell, so that families can maintain local ties and school places wherever possible.
The council hopes the new measures will help ensure it meets its pledge of moving all survivors from the Tower and Grenfell Walk into homes by June 2018.
All homes will be furnished and any moving costs incurred will be covered.
New properties will be added each week to the council’s Home Connections site.
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