Neighbours of Grenfell Tower encouraged to return home five months after tragedy

Kate Proctor
Grenfell Tower: Hundreds of people were displaced by the fire in June: Nigel Howard

Hundreds of residents from three streets close to Grenfell Tower are still living in hotels five months after the disaster and are being encouraged to return to their homes.

About 360 households left Barandon Walk, Hurstway Walk and Testerton Walk immediately after the June 14 fire because it destroyed their central boiler.

The homes — which were not damaged by the blaze — have undergone a major refurbishment but Kensington and Chelsea council says 125 households have not moved back.

Residents are now being offered £300 a week in financial assistance for the first two months if they return, as well help with moving.

Blaze: Many displaced by the fire are still living in hotels (AP)

Deputy council leader Kim Taylor-Smith said: “We are doing everything humanly possible to help everyone affected by the Grenfell fire — either directly, or in this case, indirectly.

“We recognise that hotels are not a suitable place for anyone long-term, especially not for families with children. That’s why we are committed to helping residents move back to their homes, spending millions to make them even nicer places to live.”

In a drive to get people out of hotels, those who do not want to go back to homes in “the Walkways” are also being offered priority status for alternative social housing.

They will have the same status on the housing register as those with medical conditions.

The trauma of witnessing the fire is understood to be among the reasons some residents do not want to return to the Lancaster West Estate.

However, some feel that the council has much more to do before they can move back.

Labour councillor Beinazir Lasharie, who serves as deputy mayor on the Conservative-run local authority, said her home in Testerton Walk was still not habitable. In a letter to the council she complained about the heating, lighting, water pressure and access to the buildings.

The council’s call for people to return to the estate comes after Scotland Yard said yesterday that the final death toll from the fire is 71.

The final victim was baby Logan Gomes, who was delivered stillborn while his mother was unconscious in hospital.

Police believe 293 people were in the tower when the fire started.

Scotland Yard has said it is confident it has found and identified everyone who died and recovered as much of their remains as possible.

More than 200,000 personal items have been saved from the remains of the tower.

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