Family gets new home in time for hurricane season

June 02, 2022
Courtney Williams makes a phone call while sitting on the steps of his new three-bedroom house at Schoolfield in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth, recently. The house for the family of six was provided under the New Social Housing Programme.
Courtney Williams makes a phone call while sitting on the steps of his new three-bedroom house at Schoolfield in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth, recently. The house for the family of six was provided under the New Social Housing Programme.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second left), cuts the ribbon to official hand over a three-bedroom unit to the Williams family. Sharing in the moment are (from left) Member of Parliament for St Elizabeth North Eastern, Delroy Slowley; Chairman of the Oversight Committee for the New Social Housing Programme, Judith Walters; and recipient Topal Williams and her daughter.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second left), cuts the ribbon to official hand over a three-bedroom unit to the Williams family. Sharing in the moment are (from left) Member of Parliament for St Elizabeth North Eastern, Delroy Slowley; Chairman of the Oversight Committee for the New Social Housing Programme, Judith Walters; and recipient Topal Williams and her daughter.
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After seeing sections of his dwelling collapse twice during tropical storms, Courtney Williams can rest easy knowing that his new concrete house can weather any storm.

Williams and his family are the latest recipients of new homes under the prime minister's New Social Housing Programme. Williams, alongside his wife and four children, previously lived in a single-room board and zinc structure in Schoolfield, St Elizabeth.

"Everything was outside. Rain or shine or breeze or what," Williams said. "If dem say 'Daddy mi wah [use the bathroom], mi wake up and turn on mi phone light and bring dem to the likkle pit toilet. If is 2:30 [a.m.] or 2:45 or 3 o'clock that's when we a go do it." He told THE STAR that parts of the ceiling also leaked.

"Sometimes we affi set stuff there. Especially if the rain constantly fall, today, tomorrow, the other day, you know, like that. But if it fall maybe fi one day it nuh suh bad," he said.

Williams said that after the first two instances where his roof and a few walls were swept away by heavy winds, he made special preparations.

"Mi mek sure nail everything dung and tie everything dung. Mi all take up all mi likkle something dem carry guh dung a mi mother house," he said. But much to his surprise, it was his mother's house that succumbed to the conditions the next time.

"When mi bring dem guh mi mother house, when me a come offa di hill, mi see di zinc a cut like seh somebody a cut off the zinc offa mi mother house. Is a good thing seh mi did have one blue tarpaulin. A it mi use and wrap up my likkle TV and a likkle DVD [player]. You see after di hurricane finish and me come back up here, a just like zinc kinda liff. Mi likkle cabin dry, it dry. Everywhere else wet up."

After realising that he will not have to worry about tying down his roof or securing his walls, his elation could not be contained.

"But Jesus, I don't even thought about it, I just laugh about it. When I was living at the likkle one place ... I used to just think 'Boy mi likkle girl wah use di likkle pit toilet, mi affi go wake up and do whatever'. It was a likkle bit rough but one a di time mi all get used to it," he said. "As mi wife woulda say 'Bwoy, mi nuh affi inna di kitchen a bun di wood when the rain a fall just so we eat something. I am just happy and it's more than change because we woulda be inah the likkle mud kitchen if rain shoulda fall. But now we have everything."

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