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Opinion: Fight to help Barking Riverside fire families continues

PUBLISHED: 08:30 17 August 2019

Margaret Hodge

Margaret Hodge

Archant

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Since the devastating fire at Barking Riverside in June, my team and I have worked tirelessly to support the affected residents.

I met and spoke with many residents of Samuel Garside House about their concerns and fears.

Some families and individuals are experiencing severe mental health or emotional difficulties since their traumatic experiences of the fire.

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Many of them are living in temporary accommodation, including hotels and short-term apartments. But the building insurers threatened to cut funding for this accommodation.

The residents that I talked to clearly felt like they were being pushed to return to a block that they did not believe was truly safe or habitable.

I spoke to the former and the current Secretaries of State for Housing, to ask for government assistance. I explained that the residents cannot be expected to return to their properties until the block is completely safe and building works have been completed.

The chaotic arrival of the new Tory government meant that neither Secretary of State could do much to help these families and individuals.

Instead, my team and I have worked hard to extend residents' temporary accommodation. We have successfully campaigned for an extension to these vital short-term homes until early September at no cost to residents.

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