Whitehall’s plightAS HER CHILDREN romp in the bed beside her, Cherie-Ann Whitehall ponders her situation. (Gercine Carter)
By Gercine Carter | Sat, July 07, 2012 - 12:02 AM
WHILE THREE of her children romped beside her on the bed in a tiny, rented room, Cherie-Ann Whitehall sat yesterday, wondering where she would find another home for her family.
The Garden Land, Country Road, St Michael mother was pondering her next move after failing to find alternative accommodation after the June 30 deadline given by her landlord to quit had expired.
This is a position in which Whitehall has repeatedly found herself since she lost the rented home she once occupied with three children and her father at Stanley Terrace, the Pine, St Michael to fire seven years ago.
Provided with temporary shelter by a relative immediately after the fire, she was subsequently forced to move around, renting room after room in various locations, paying rents between $100 and $180 per week.
Yesterday she told the SATURDAY SUN she had made several futile attempts in the aftermath of the fire to secure a rental unit from the National Housing Corporation. She complained: “When you go to them, they don’t have anything. They tell you nothing is available. . . . They tell you hold on, hold on.”
Whitehall said she had also appealed to social agencies as well as to Members of Parliament, who made promises.
Now the mother of six children ranging in age from 13 to two, Whitehall is anxious to vacate the small $100-per- week rented room she occupies with four of her children. (Two children live with relatives.)
Furnished with a bed only, Whitehall’s home is part of a two-room plywood structure which has toilet and kitchen facilities shared by the two tenants. It is semi-detached from a unit containing another four tenanted rooms.
Whitehall said the landlord was “understanding” but had told her he needed to have her section vacated to effect repairs.
A restaurant waitress, Whitehall earns just seven dollars per hour and works three days per week. She said she gets some financial assistance from her father, a fisherman who has lived on his boat since the fire.
Yesterday in desperation she pleaded, “I am just here. I need help.”
Alerted to Whitehall’s plight, Acting General Manager of the National Housing Corporation Lanette Napoleon-Young told the SATURDAY SUN: “Once we have the accommodation, we try to assist persons. We will actively look into the matter.
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