Nightmare continues for Grenfell evacuee seven months on

A Grenfell evacuee has hit out at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) as he faces his eighth month in temporary accommodation.

Joe Delaney, 37, has lived on Barandon Walk since 2010, less than 15 metres from Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West estate.

And he claims he has faced a wall of indifference from RBKC as he struggles to put his life together after the fire.

Mr Delaney said: “The fire happened because the state, government and local council failed us. Everyone now knows this, but the people in North Kensington are still way down list of priorities, it seems.

“The phrase that came about after the MacPherson inquiry into the Stephen Lawrence murder was institutional racism.

“It’s quite possible that the Moore-Bicks inquiry into this will give us institutional indifference.”

The forthcoming council elections in May provide some optimism for Mr Delaney, as he said a council concerned about image might be forced to step their game up.

The nightmare continues: Joe Delaney remains in temporary accommodation

He said: “It would be in their interest to get things done and get them done quickly, just from that PR perspective. Especially as we are grinding towards local elections in May.

“But to illustrate how much they truly care, they recently sent out a survey to their Conservative members in the area. ‘On a scale of 1-10, how much do you care about the Grenfell issue?’

“That was between a question on how do you feel about recycling and how much do you care about litter…”

Mr Delaney said the next few months will be very telling, but is concerned that the status quo in council numbers after the elections will kick the matter into the long grass.

He said: “If there isn’t a serious impact on the number of seats they have in the council, I think they’ll just see that as a licence to return to form.

“Because they will have seen at that point, ‘yeah, it’s not really going to affect us. So we’ll just keep pushing out this stick woman Elizabeth Campbell, the leader of the council. We’ll just keep pushing her out to say sorry.’

“That seems to be their approach until now, so why change a winning formula?”

At least 71 people perished in the fire on the morning of June 14. In total, 206 homes were destroyed. From those 206 homes, 123 people were still in emergency accommodation by the end of 2017. 47 were in temporary housing and 36 have accepted permanent dwellings.

Only 40% of the people from the three attached blocks, one of which Mr Delaney lived in, secured hotel accommodation.

As many as 126 households (those not in the tower) are still in emergency accommodation.

When contacted by South West Londoner, a spokesperson for RBKC said: “We have always been clear the commitment for permanent rehousing is within a year. Households were offered temporary accommodation three weeks after the fire.

“Since then the council has been working around the clock and closely with each family about their individual preferences and needs.

“We have also made offers of temporary, privately rented homes to those still in hotels. Some have taken up this offer whilst others have said that they do not want to move twice.

“But, in the coming months, we expect many more households will move into their new homes. We remain on course to meet our target that everyone from the Tower and Walk will be rehoused by June 2018.”


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