MORE than £16 million in donations to charities for survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire has still not been distributed to them, it was revealed yesterday.
Only £2.8 million out of a £18.9m pot has been given to bereaved families and survivors so far, two months after the tragedy that happened on June 14, data released by the Charity Commission shows.
Organisations behind the fundraising drive said that much of the raised cash was being held back until talks could take place over how to use it. Red Cross and the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation both raised £5.7m, while the Evening Standard fund collected more than £6.7m, with smaller sums from other organisations making a total of £18,856,206.
Of that, £7.25m has been handed to distributing organisations on the ground. The London Emergencies Trust, which is tasked with giving out funds, said it had only received applications for £1.47m worth of donations from families so far.
But Justice 4 Grenfell activist Yvette Williams said the process of applying had proved difficult for some, especially those whose first language is not English. She said key workers should be helping the families to fill in forms.
Ms Williams added: “Some of these people are still heavily traumatised.”
Of the distribution process, she said: “They have to beg for information and it’s still not clear the background of it, or how they’re going forward.”
Despite intense public pressure on the government, 158 families are living in emergency accommodation after the disaster. Since the fire, at least 80 people are confirmed to have died with many more declared “missing” but believed to have also been killed.
One charity said delays in handing displaced families a “fresh start” grant was due to many not being rehoused.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “The Commission have obviously got to examine very carefully what’s going on and make sure that the unbelievable levels of generosity of many people actually gets through to those who need it.
“Clearly there is a responsibility on those who run organisations to make sure that it gets through to the people it’s intended for.”
The Kensington and Chelsea Foundation said it would be giving the grant out this week.