The Council has today published its proposals to re-house those residents of the Lancaster West Estate who feel unable to return to their home in the shadow of Grenfell Tower.
The Law Centre held a number of clinics to speak to our clients from the area to listen to their views on the Council’s proposed policy. To read our formal submission to the consultation on the policy, click here.
Following pressure applied by local residents, the Law Centre, and other local advice and scrutiny bodies, some changes have been made to the previous draft of the policy, some of which we welcome. It is right that:
- residents from Bramley and Treadgold Houses will be given access to the policy;
- residents will not be as harshly punished if they do not accept unsuitable housing offers;
- private tenants, lodgers and family members may be given financial assistance and advice on moving into the private rented sector; and
- households with additional needs around health and overcrowding will receive more housing points to better reflect their circumstances.
However, there are still many areas of the Council’s policy about which the Law Centre has serious concerns. These include:
- residents will have to leave their emergency accommodation to be able to access the policy, potentially having to return to the Estate in order to leave the Estate. At best this will cause further disruption to residents. At worst it risks triggering the onset of trauma (particularly in vulnerable children), subjecting residents to undue degrees of pressure, and undermining the Council’s commitment to re-house residents at their own speed;
- residents will still receive only two housing offers, rejection of which will still penalise them. This could be insufficient to allow residents to overcome their deep and valid scepticism towards the quality of offers they receive from the Council; and
- the Council has failed to take this opportunity to clarify residents’ concerns about rent liability for temporary accommodation from 1 July 2018.
We are disappointed that the Council did not listen to the voices of campaigners and residents on these specific issues, and we would urge the Council to reconsider these particular aspects of the policy.
We remain concerned, therefore, that these shortcomings may still deter some residents from seeking to exercise any rights under the Council’s policy. This would prevent some residents from leaving the Estate, in the shadow of the remains of Grenfell Tower, where many are unable to continue living. Crucially, the Council’s policy will still likely require residents to be on the housing register for a significant period of time before they are re-housed. Residents remain unclear as to how long they will have to wait.
If you have any questions or concerns about how the policy may affect you or your family, please do contact us to arrange a free, confidential and impartial consultation with us.
To read the details of the Council’s proposed policy in full, click here.