IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Amputee badly needs a home
TWO Good Samaritans are pleading with Government’s social agencies to come forward and help a woman who is desperately in need of accommodation.
Pastor Grace Showan and Karen Bourne say they have been searching high and low for a home for 56-year-old Sherma Taitt, a chronic diabetic they have been financially assisting for several months.
Taitt’s right leg was amputated last month but she remains at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital even though she was discharged two weeks ago, because she has nowhere to live.
Taitt was featured in this column last April pleading with the Welfare Department to rescue her and her two grandchildren, age four and 13, from the rat-infested, dilapidated house in which they were living at Providence, Christ Church.
Following the publication of that heart-wrenching story, authorities at the Welfare Department rented a one-bedroom house for the family at Kingsland, Christ Church. But their happiness at finally getting a decent home was short-lived as after six months the agency stopped paying the rent and they had to find accommodation again.
With the assistance of Showan, Taitt was allowed to stay at Bourne’s government unit in the Pine, St Michael, from November last year until the end of this month but, unfortunately, Taitt was hospitalised before she could find alternative accommodation.
While her two grandchildren are now living with their fathers, Showan’s mission is to get Taitt a home with a ramp and facilities which would cater to disability.
Both she and Bourne explained that they had been calling and visiting the Welfare Department, the National Housing Corporation and the National Assistance Board in an effort to get help.
“The doctors at the hospital have told me to find somewhere for her to go because she was discharged and they need the bed for other patients,” Bourne said.
She said Taitt could no longer be accommodated at her home in the Pine because the bedrooms and bathroom were all upstairs and the house was scheduled to undergo repairs from next month.
Showan said while the Welfare Department had told her to find another home for Taitt and they would pay the rent she had been unsuccessful in finding suitable accommodation.
She recalled that one of her church members brought Taitt to her church after the Welfare Department stopped paying the rent in Kingsland.
“I walked from the Welfare Department to the NHC talking to this person and that person and that was when I realised there is no longer a provision for persons in crisis situations to get help from the social agencies in Barbados,” Showan said.
She added that she and other friends had to put together almost $2 000 to get Taitt accommodated at the house in the Pine.
“The Welfare Department told me that by February they would find a house for her. I haven’t heard back from them.”
Armed with a small hamper of goods which were given to her by staff at the General Post Office, Showan said she was still providing assistance for Taitt’s two grandchildren.
The pastor added: “She is a simple woman but very kind-hearted and loving. We know that she can no longer care for her grandchildren because she will now need assistance for herself. The social agencies have to be in a position to help the most vulnerable in our society.”
Showan said she would be willing to pay the rent for Taitt if a home was found for her and she pleaded with Barbadians who had a rental house to contact her.
Speaking from her hospital bed, Taitt said she was trying to stay focused and not become depressed over her homeless situation.
However, she admitted that she was fearful of what would happen to her if the hospital insisted that she had to go.