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Supporting Grenfell residents


Citizens Advice Westminster is playing its part in supporting the many residents who have suffered trauma, displacement and disruption to their daily lives as a result of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire.

Our adviser Ardiane Krasniqi  is one of a team who visits  the Grenfell Assistance Centre at the Curve centre to provide advice, information and guidance to survivors who are struggling to get their lives back on track.

The Curve Centre.JPG 4 (2)Ardiane explains:

“We are working alongside a number of other charities and government agencies covering a range of issues and problems residents are facing. This includes housing needs advice, benefits, emergency funds, health, mental and social care services, and family and child services. Also present are experienced volunteers from the Red Cross and other organisations, as well as a foodbank and clothing service.

“Above all we are part of a kind and sympathetic team of people ready to provide advice on anything.We can also serve as an experienced sounding board for people to talk through their options so they can reach the best possible decision under these unprecedented and challenging circumstances.

Uncertainty about future housing

“I was speaking to one woman who lived in an adjoining block  to the Grenfell  tower and whose children witnessed the fire in which a family member died. This caused them a lot of distress and insecurity about their future in the local area. She does not wish to move out of her home of 20 years, despite health hazards and risk from the Grenfell Tower block. She is very concerned about moving into temporary accommodation without having  reassurance about her long-term security.  She runs a local business and so is very reluctant to leave and be rehoused along with all the other residents of her block. By spending time with her to talk through the issues and options, she felt more confident about making a decision.

“I have also been advising a son who attended the  Curve centre requesting support/advice for his parent aged 83 and 80, who are both disabled with severe mobility problems. His parents have been living in the UK for 40 years within the local Portuguese/Spanish community.  But as a result of communicating only in their mother tongue, the couple have language barriers and rely on their son as their only contact, but he works full time so is not always available.

“His parents are very distressed by the impact of the disaster and wish to move back into their property but are unable to do so as it has been classified as a crime scene and hazardous to health by the local authority. As a result of not being able to get into their flat to retrieve their passports, the couple are unable to travel to Spain to be with his relatives as the Passport Office will not issue a new passport because, technically, it has not been lost!

“Housing is the top issue for many, as they are not clear about the terms and conditions of their current interim housing provision, or the new long-term housing options being offered. We will pick up the phone to the relevant organisation there and then to see if we can find answers or a resolution to their problem. If the issues are more complex or difficult we can refer to the solicitors who are available at the centre and whose services are covered by legal aid.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by the Grenfell fire you can find more detailed information on our website:

https://www.westminstercab.org.uk/grenfell-tower/

The Curve Assistance Centre is located at 10 Bard Road, W10 6TP. http://grenfellsupport.localgovstack.co.uk/assistance-centres/

It is open from 10am to 8pm every day and provides support and advice from a wide range of charities and government organisations including the NHS, UK Visas and Immigration, HM Passport Office, Jobcentre Plus, Post Office, adults’ and children’s social care, and housing.


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