London

London fire: Homes offered to victims of Grenfell Tower blaze

A woman looks at her smartphone in front of a message board near the scene of the fire that destroyed the Grenfell Tower block Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Posters asking for help finding those missing after the Grenfell Tower blaze have been put up by families looking for their loved ones

People from across England have offered the survivors of the Grenfell Tower blaze accommodation, as the relief effort continues.

It comes as local community groups and charities have been inundated with thousands of donations from the public.

Several relief funds for the victims, set up on the Just Giving website, have collectively raised £2.8m already.

Kensington and Chelsea Council has said every survivor of the tragedy has been found temporary accommodation.

So far 30 people are known to have died in the blaze but that number is expected to rise significantly.

On Thursday, the first victim of the fire was named as Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali, 23.

Local groups have asked the public not to make further donations of clothes, food, toys, medical supplies and other items to allow them to collate and distribute what they have already received.

People from as far as Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Surrey, Essex, Dorset and Oxford have taken to social media to make offers of accommodation.

One woman called Laura-Jayne, who manages student accommodation, took to Twitter to offer 21 studio flats as temporary accommodation. She told the BBC she had contacted the council to let it know she had accommodation available but had yet to hear from a council officer.

Image copyright Reuters

Others left notes near to the site of Grenfell Tower. Among the posters of the missing on a bus stop on Latimer Road was one note from a man called Duncan from Surrey.

It read: "We are a family of four living an hour away from central London in the countryside. We can offer accommodation to individuals or a family. We have got three bedrooms. We can pick you up from London. There are several stations close to us that provide regular trains to and from London."

The council was unable to say how many of those displaced by the Grenfell Tower blaze were still in the Westway Sports Centre or other relief centres, saying it was "a fluid figure".

The council said it was focusing its efforts "on rehousing those affected by the fire".

So far 77 households out of the 120 that made up Grenfell Tower have been given temporary accommodation in west London hotels.

Image copyright EPA
Image copyright PA

A spokesman for Kensington and Chelsea Council said: "We have a team looking at longer-term rehousing for people, but we are unable to say how long this will take yet. Everyone has somewhere to stay temporarily."

The council added it had been in contact with neighbouring boroughs and housing associations in order to provide longer-term accommodation to the survivors of the tragedy, as well as looking at housing options within the borough.

Image copyright Reuters

Andrew Slaughter, the Labour MP for Hammersmith and Fulham, told BBC Radio London it was vital that every victim of the blaze was "rehoused in the immediate area".

He added Theresa May's government had to make the tragedy its "number one priority" and that how the prime minister responded to the week's events would "define her premiership".

Image copyright Twitter

Housing minister Alok Sharma has said the government would support every family that has been affected by the tragedy.

But the BBC understands that taking over empty homes in the borough, as suggested by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday, is not an option currently being considered.

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Media captionKensington councillor: 'It could take two years to rehouse everyone from Grenfell Tower'

The deputy leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, Rock Feilding-Mellen told BBC Radio London: "The compulsory purchase order process is an incredibly complicated legalistic system.

"In my view that's not right governments can just go round requisitioning people's homes without going through very thorough due process."

He later told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show it could take up to two years to relocate all the families from Grenfell Tower.

Mr Feilding-Mellen said the council's first priority was to get the families out of hotels and into temporary accommodation before trying to find them a more permanent home.

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