Young man cries as mom finally gets a house of her own

Young man cries as mom finally gets a house of her own

Saturday, August 08, 2020

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RHIANE Powell was overcome with emotion when his dream was realised — a home for himself and his mother.

Keys for the house, constructed at Pisces Close in Watson Grove, Portmore, St Catherine, were handed over by Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie and Mayor of the Portmore Leon Thomas to Powell and his mother, Ann-Marie Douglas, recently.

The project is part of the Government's Indigent Housing Programme, which assists low-income people who are unable to afford proper housing.

A teary-eyed Powell, overwhelmed with emotions throughout the presentation, was appreciative of Government's assistance. “I feel good dat mi and mi family can go a the house and live. So, I just have to thank the Government fi everything dat they do for me,” Powell told the Jamaica Observer.

According to Mayor Thomas, Powell's plight came to the attention of the municipality when he took part in the local government cross-country island run in 2018. He stated that Powell ran the entire race barefooted. “His dedication and persistence in participating led the municipality to get more information from him. After talking to him we realise he needs assistance with a number of things. The local government minister stepped in, and with the Portmore City Municipality, we ensured that vision became a reality,” the mayor stated.

Minister McKenzie also praised Powell for his courage in participating in the relay. He said that the level of interest that Powell displayed to partake in an event he did not know of played a key role in their decision to find out more information about his living circumstances. McKenzie also commended him for being forthright in asking for a house for his family. “I asked him, 'What is it that we can do for you?' Because you have made local government month very attractive because of your participation. He turned to me and he said he wanted a house for his mother,” McKenzie said.

Mayor Thomas, meanwhile, said the municipality is still dedicated to assist Powell in breaking the cycle of poverty and make a man of himself.

In 2018, the Observer published a story that highlighted Powell's plight to go back to school and get a proper education. He was unable to matriculate into high school, because he did not have his birth certificate. However, the mayor stated that Powell will be assisted in receiving a formal education. “Without education, no matter what we do for him, the cycle of poverty will continue until he is able to break it. Education provides him with that opportunity. We have registered Rhiane in the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning. This is just the start of helping him to break the cycle and become one of Portmore success story,” Mayor Thomas said.

At the same time, the mayor said the municipality is committed to helping other Portmore residents to improve their living conditions. “We are now working on one place in Braeton. There are different sources that we get the resources from, but we are continuing to uplift our citizens in the municipality. We also provide them from time to time with doors, windows and other stuff to refurbish houses that are in bad condition,” Thomas told the Observer.

— Fitsroy Randall

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