Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Survivors Receive PS1,000 Emergency Cash; Payments from Our PS3.3m Fund to Help Residents Rebuild Their Lives

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Survivors Receive PS1,000 Emergency Cash; Payments from Our PS3.3m Fund to Help Residents Rebuild Their Lives

Article excerpt

Byline: David Cohen Campaigns Editor

THE Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund was today starting to hand out emergency payments of PS1,000 per flat to survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.

As the amount raised by our fund soared past PS3.3 million, its focus switched to effecting immediate cash payments so the destitute residents of the 120 flats can begin the painful process of rebuilding their lives.

The package of up to PS120,000 was hammered out over the weekend and can be collected by survivors from two trusted community centres, The Rugby Portobello Trust and the Al-Manaar mosque, where payments will be distributed by the National Zakat Foundation. Between them, both charities have contact with the majority of families made homeless by the fire.

Our relief initiative which so far also includes payments of PS5,000 pledged to up to 20 local voluntary organisations and church groups on Friday follows another day of shambolic lack of leadership on the ground, during which families complained of "a complete lack of co-ordination and communication" by council and government officials.

Despite Theresa May announcing that PS500 in cash payments for families would be available from the Westway Centre yesterday, together with a promise to begin putting PS5,000 into residents' bank accounts, some survivors said they went to the centre only to be told that "the money has run out".

Virgilio Castro, a hotel maintenance worker who fled with his girlfriend and daughter from his flat on the 17th floor, said: "They told me to wait and that some people would give me PS500 in cash. But then, later, they came to me and said, 'Sorry, we've run out'. I cannot understand it. The people here promise, promise, promise but where is the money? "We need money to get clothes and food, just basics. I've had no appetite since it happened. You might look at me and think I am okay, but I am not okay. I feel so angry. They should be helping our stress, not adding to it." It was also claimed that a number of residents were turned away from the centre this morning after being told the money was not available. …

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