Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
Denise Chito, the 29-year-old, badly disfigured mother of three, is still waiting on a decent home for her family.
Earlier this year, she was bursting with joy and excitement when the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing leased her a plot of land in West Albion, St Thomas, and she was promised that Food For The Poor would erect a house for her family on the land. She was one step closer to the dream home for her family.
However, after paying the monthly lease of $3,335, plus additional fees since February, eight months later she still has not received the house.
Now her hopes are completely dashed and she doesn't know what next to do.
"(A representative) at the Ministry of Housing said they send all my documents by Food For The Poor and they said I would get the house," Chito told The Gleaner.
"But I keep asking him about what is happening, and now he is telling me that him don't know when the house is going to build because the Food For The Poor contractors are busy building the Hurricane Sandy houses, so if I expect them to leave what they are doing to go to St Thomas to build one house."
She added: "How can I be paying for a place where I don't live and no one can give me any good argument? That can't be fair."
Disfigured since she was 17 years old, after she was chopped all over her body by a man during a fit of jealous rage, life has been a constant struggle for the determined woman.
In December last year, The Gleaner highlighted her plight and need for a comfortable, secure dwelling for herself and her family in the story 'I should not be living like this'.
For too long, Denise, her common-law-husband Raymond Campbell and their three daughters - Faith, 3, Dejeanai, 6 and Deneisa, 8 - have been forced to survive in a small one-room house in Kingston, all sleeping together on one bed.
Depressing for the family
The extreme discomfort and squalor of the dwelling has been very depressing for the family.
However, never allowing her disability and circumstance to interfere with her determination to be self-sufficient, Denise has been earning a living by selling snacks at her gate, while Campbell does the occasional contract job.
"Mi really need somewhere to live. Right now, mi foot swell big because it can't stretch out at night and I have to go to the hospital. Is just one room me and the children and mi babyfather live in and we all sleep on the one bed," she said.
"Me and the children were really feeling so good that we getting somewhere comfortable and they can have their own room and own bed."
During the interview, as if suddenly remembering Dejeanai's outstanding achievement at St Paul's Basic School, Denise lit up with a bright smile as she shared that at the graduation in June she was so proud to see her daughter getting awards for Outstanding Student in Academics, Most Helpful Student, Super Speller and second place in her class.
"I was so proud, I couldn't believe how well she did. I was so proud. But I couldn't even carry them home because I don't have anywhere to put them. I give them to a friend to keep and tell my daughter that we soon get a house and can put them up for everybody to see," the elated mom shared.
Dejeanai is now in her first year at Allman Town Primary School.
When contacted, the housing ministry representative to whom Chito made reference said he was aware of the case but was not authorised to speak to the media, therefore, the query would have to be directed to the permanent secretary at the housing ministry. Up to press time, there was still no response to a Gleaner email requesting an update on the case.