Dozens of families made homeless in the deadly Grenfell Tower fire are set to spend Christmas in hotels, where campaigners claim children are forced to sleep on the floor and survivors have no access to hot meals.
Almost six months on from the blaze that claimed 71 lives, 105 households are still living in hotels, council figures revealed today.
With some survivors now claiming a lack of support from authorities means it feels as though they are being “penalised for being alive”, campaigners are demanding urgent action from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC).
“They need to start treating people with respect,” urged the director of campaign group Justice4Grenfell, Judy Bolton, at a protest outside the year’s final council meeting on Wednesday night.
“They need to start treating people with dignity. And they need to take responsibility for the travesty they have caused.”
As calls of “no justice, no peace” rang out through the crowd, Bolton – who lost family members in the fire – continued: “Why are there children sleeping on floors in a hotel? Why are disabled people having to live in hotels?
“They can’t use bathrooms? They can’t put their children to bed, they can’t make a simple dinner.”
According to Bolton, families living in hotels “still need feeding” in the same way they did in the days after the fire, “because they don’t get a hot meal there”.
She continued: “We’ve got Christmas coming up, and that means for those school holidays, and families as well, they will be isolated.”
The calls come after it emerged that of the 209 households made homeless in the Grenfell Tower fire, 118 are still living in temporary accomodation. Of these families, 30 have children under the age of 18.
Just 42 families have been moved into new permanent homes since June 14, while 49 are living in temporary residences.
At tonight’s demonstration – where protestors waved placards demanding ‘Justice For Grenfell’ – Labour MP Kate Osamor told crowds that they must continue to “keep up the pressure” on authorities.
“We must never ever forget those who lost their lives in vain, those survivors, those children who have lost their parents and loved ones,” she said.
“We must stand together for them.”
But the the council claims it has been working “around the clock” to help rehouse families who lost their homes in the fire, having committed £235 million to the cause.