Friday 30 October, 2020

No more HDC houses for disabled woman, former national boxer

Erica Joseph and former national boxer Wendell Joseph at the Queens Park Savannah prior to their allocation of an HDC house at Charford Court.

Erica Joseph and former national boxer Wendell Joseph at the Queens Park Savannah prior to their allocation of an HDC house at Charford Court.

The Housing Development Company has put its foot down as it said it will no longer move to accommodate wheelchair-bound Erica Joseph and her husband, former national Heavyweight boxer Wendell Joseph, by allocating them yet another HDC house.

The HDC issued a statement after CNC3 reported that the disabled 57-year-old woman found her home at Charford Court, Charlotte Street, Port of Spain unfit for a differently abled person.

In the release sent on Monday, the HDC said the Josephs have been the recipients of state-subsidized accommodation on several occasions between 1998 and 2017. The state agency said it has gone above and beyond to ensure that the couple was comfortable but to no avail. It said as such, it is willing to work with any company willing to help but it will not allocate another state house at this time.

"On each occasion that the couple complained to the HDC about their living conditions, the HDC dispatched a team from its Social and Community Services Unit to investigate the alleged claims. On each occasion, the representatives of the Social and Community Services Unit were unable to substantiate the claims."

"The HDC is now of the view that it has fulfilled its duties and responsibilities and has even gone beyond its obligations in this regard. The HDC is not prepared to go further at this time but is willing to work with any other state agency or NGO which wishes to offer assistance."

In defending its decision, the HDC noted that prior to the Charford Court relocation, the Josephs were provided with a single family unit in Tarodale, San Fernando, which was retrofitted specifically for persons with disabilities. It said the Josephs decided to move once again, at the expense of the state.

"This cost accumulated to tens of thousands of tax-payers dollars in material and labour. The couple left this unit in October 2016, after claiming that they were “chased” from the unit and that they were surrounded by “wicked, violent neighbours”. Since their decision to move from the single-family unit in Tarodale in 2016, the unit was subsequently vandalised and will cost thousands of tax-payers dollars in refurbishment works in order to make the unit habitable for another deserving family."

Prior to receiving the house at Charford Court, the Josephs lived at the Queens Park Savannah.

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