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Father, son prepare to return to life in a tent
Fire victims Alan Maloney and his son may have to return to living in a tent in the burnt-out remains of their Ste Madeleine home, when their two-month apartment rental agreement expires today. Maloney has admitted he is worried about the prospects of having to return to the tent, in which he lived with his son Daniel Toussaint, eight, for a month after the November 30 fire destroyed their home.
The two were granted temporary relief when, after reading about them in the T&T Guardian, soca star Fay-Ann Lyons, moved by their plight, rented an apartment for them in San Fernando for two months while the National Self Help Commission provided material to rebuild their home. A good Samaritan also put them up at the Kapok Hotel in Port-of-Spain for the Christmas holidays.
Maloney said he is now trying to negotiate with social welfare to continue paying the rent on the apartment, as Self Help was yet to make good on the promise of assistance to rebuild. In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Maloney said he went to the Social Welfare office to enquire whether or not he qualified for the three-month rental programme which catered for people in desperate situations like him.
“I have to get a paper from the landlord stating how much the rent is, a copy of my identification card, and that I could stay there for three months,” Maloney said. However, he confirmed he has not yet spoken to the landlord to ask for the documents, but was optimistic that it could be organised. Asked what would happen if Social Welfare could not help, Maloney said: “That is the same thing I was wondering. If the landlord says no, I don’t know, God will work something out.
He said he did not want to go back to his burnt-out house. “If was me alone I did not mind but it is not a place for a child. For now I cannot think about anywhere else we could go between now and Sunday,” he said Despite having only a bed, recliner and stove in the apartment, Maloney said his son was very happy in the apartment and dreaded having to go back to the confines of a tent.
Kevin Williams from the National Self Help Commission said yesterday Maloney was responsible for the delay in accessing the material. He said Maloney just had to sign certain documents and once that was done the materials would be dropped off in a matter of days. Construction will follow, carried out by the URP, with an estimated completion time of a maximum of two weeks.
“It’s been difficult to get Mr Maloney to come and meet with us. I think he is trying as hard as he could to make as much money as he could.” “Mr Maloney came here once and I think he came another time when I was not here. “It’s just for him to sign the documents.”
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