A house at last!
Kellits resident grateful for a house on behalf of her mother who suffered two strokes
Twenty-three-year-old Jordeen Mason was a picture of joy and contentment as she looked at the foundation that signalled the beginning of a two-bedroom house for her mother and siblings.
The house – one that has been secured under the prime minister’s New Social Housing Programme (NSHP) – is an answer to Mason’s prayer as her mother, Joan Douglas, suffered a stroke early in 2020, and another one later that same year.
Living in a house that was less than desirable to begin with in the first place, the stroke was a further blow to the family as it meant returning to a place where Douglas could not move around easily in a wheelchair.
“She was hospitalised for quite some time. When she was released from the hospital, she was not able to do anything for herself. She wasn’t able to move or even talk properly,” Mason shared.
Mason said it was at that point that she reached out to the member of parliament (MP) for the constituency, Dwight Sibbles, who assisted the family in getting her mother to Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre in Mona, St Andrew.
After three months at the facility, Mason said her mother showed no signs of improvement. With no one available to take care of her, and not having the financial resources to pay for help, she said she had to quit her job at a call centre to take care of her mother.
“We lived in a very old house. The condition of the house was very deplorable. We grew up in that house, but it wasn’t all that bad. However, over time it just started to deteriorate. The walls starting to fall down, the floor was breaking up, the roof was leaking when it rained due to how long the zincs were up,” she described the house that has since been demolished to make way for the two-bedroom structure now being erected.
Added to their discomfort was the toilet which, she said, was some distance away from the house and its condition proving to be uncomfortable and inconvenient for her mother.
Life after a stroke was a nightmare for the family to negotiate as Mason shared some of the challenges encountered.
“She had no space to move around as freely and to use a wheelchair.
“We had challenges with the outside kitchen at nights and whenever it rains. I used to feel very ashamed living in that house until I realised it was what it was and I knew one day I was going to fix it,” she confessed.
Efforts by her sibling and herself to come up with the money to work on the house proved futile as the expenses of travelling to Kingston every day, dealing with the medical expenses and her not working any more saw what little money they had to try making the house more liveable being redirected.
It was at that point that she said she reached back out to Sibbles in the hopes he could assist in fixing the house, or possibly getting some building materials.
“He said he had to come and have a look at the house. We made arrangements and he did come and saw the horrible conditions of our house. After looking around his exact words were, ‘We’re going to give you a house’.”
Mason told The Gleaner that she was sceptical and did not believe that he meant it. Giving the MP, who was at the site an apologetic look, she said she was overjoyed when he started requesting more information to be submitted to get the process started.
On Monday, as community members came out to volunteer their services to complete the foundation – installing steelwork and laying the first set of blocks, Mason was not far from tears.
Her only regret was that her 51-year-old mother who, along with her 12-year-old sister and herself are staying in a rented house down the street, could not see the beginning of a change in their lives.
“I am feeling overwhelmed. I am very grateful and so is my mother. My family and I thank Prime Minister Andrew Holness and member of parliament for Northern Clarendon, Mr Sibbles, from the very bottom of our hearts,” she said.
Sibbles said after seeing the terrible condition of the house with one side broken down and almost caving in on them, he made the submission for them to benefit from the prime minister’s housing project. He expressed joy that it was approved.