In Brief

Grenfell Tower: 80% of families homeless as inquiry begins

Families ask Kensington council leader to stay away from memorial service to honour victims

Four out of five families made homeless by the Grenfell Towers fire are still searching for permanent accommodation six months later, with little hope that an inquiry beginning today will resolve the situation.

“In the immediate aftermath of the fire, which killed 71 people, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, promised that all survivors would be found a home nearby within three weeks,” reports The Guardian. But last week Grenfell United – which supports survivors of the blaze at the London tower block – said 80% of the families made homeless in June were still looking for somewhere to live.

The tension between survivors and Kensington and Chelsea Council is so great that families reportedly asked its leader, Elizabeth Campbell, and other councillors to stay away from a St Paul’s service this week for those who died in the blaze.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Campbell said councillors expect to have bought 300 homes by Christmas for Grenfell survivors, and that the council has taken on an “army of people” who were “working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, because we actually really do care, we do want to get people rehoused”.

Meanwhile, inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick began two days of hearings, although the procedures will largely be administrative and evidence won’t be heard until 2018. While some hope the inquiry will provide closure, others say they’ve lost confidence in the justice system.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has announced a separate probe “examining whether authorities failed in their legal obligations to residents”, reports the BBC.

“In terms of the politics of this awful tragedy, the EHRC report could be where the most immediate action takes place,” says HuffPost’s Paul Waugh.

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