A manager for a student accommodation company has offered 21 studio flats to displaced Grenfell Tower residents after a fire engulfed their home last Wednesday, The Independent reports.
Laura-Jayne Cannell tweeted the offer last week, telling survivors to message her privately and urging netizens to help her promote it to others. The flats at Chapter Portabello are currently empty as students move out for summer break and can house up to 46 people.
“Nearly 300 students live in this community. It’s our home, so I think just like everybody else, you naturally want to help,” Cannell told The Independent.
“The idea is to give a bit of respite and normalcy. Kids can sit and watch the TV – just relax a bit,” she said.
Last Wednesday morning, a ghastly inferno gutted Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey tower block in North Kensington that houses over 400 people. The massive blaze caused many to jump off the building or throw their children out of windows. The fire took more than 24 hours to put out, with police saying at least 58 are either dead or missing. The actual death toll, however, is feared to be significantly higher.
The community manager is now working with Royal Kensington and Chelsea Council, the local government that owns Grenfell, to find displaced residents for temporary shelter at Chapter Portabello.
“I know the council are coordinating their efforts, so we’re just ready to help wherever we can.” – Cannell.
“On Wednesday, we all rallied to prepare the rooms. We aren’t used to providing a hotel service, but we managed to get bedding, linen and towels into all of them.”
Chapter is not the only company offering shelter, according to the council, who told The Independent other commercial landlords made similar offers as well.
Crannell’s generosity has gained positive support on Twitter, with over 4,000 likes and 6,000 retweets at the time of writing.
Many praised Crannell for her offer as well as other relief efforts on the ground, which have been mostly manned by community volunteers with the local council’s presence and help sorely missing.
The Guardian reports RBKC’s work to care for survivors has since been transferred to a fire response team comprising representatives from the central government, the British Red Cross, the Metropolitan police, London-wide local and regional government and the London fire brigade.