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Thursday 22 March 2018

Where do we go?

AN epileptic mother of five, among them two autistic sons, has now found herself with no place to live after the courts deemed her and her family illegal tenants and ordered them off a piece of land occupied by three generations for several years.

Natalie Warren, 42, is now in search of a home. Since August 21, after the family broke down the house in St Mary’s Village, Moruga and packed their belongings, Warren said she and her children have been staying “here and there” and by anyone willing to take them in for a night or two.

“I never thought that today I would not have a home for my children and I will be begging people for a lodging,” cried the unemployed woman who receives a monthly disability grant.

“The land changed ownership in 1997 and, although our family had been living on the land since 1933, we still lost the matter in court.” Uprooting the family was not easy for her. Right now her two daughters Alyia, 17, a Form Five student of Barrackpore East Secondary School and Jewel, 13, a Form Two student of ASJA Girls College, Barrackpore are staying in Quarry Road, Morne Diablo and have to travel daily to school in Barrackpore.

It is costing her $100 per day for each child to travel the distance.

Her autistic sons Criston, seven, and Shakeem, six, students of Fifth Company Baptist School, cannot make the long journey. Warren explained the boys cannot cope with the long hours of travel. She said their studies have to be interrupted.

At the school, she said, they are provided with a teaching aid and they were performing well given their challenges. Her eldest son Clishon, 20, is staying with relatives. Warren said six years ago she applied for an HDC house - she also applied for a grant to repair the house she occupied back then but got neither.

She said her hopes for somewhere permanent to live were further dashed when she was recently informed by an official at the office of her Member of Parliament (Moruga) that she did not qualify for an HDC house as she received disability.

“So what am I to do? Where am I to go? My two sons are autistic, my daughter (Alyia) suffers with sickle cell, I suffer with epilepsy, I am diabetic and asthmatic. All I want is somewhere to live. If I can’t get an HDC house, if I could get a piece of land I will get material to build a place for me and my children to live.” Newsday contacted the HDC Communications Department and was told, contrary to what was said to Warren, people in her position are eligible for housing as they are the “most vulnerable” in society. Warren was advised to visit HDC’s office.


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