Cry­ing for help

Charlottetown woman’s home in ma­jor need of re­pairs, but she can’t af­ford to fix it and can­not ac­cess help from the province

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERESA WRIGHT

“I just don’t want to live like this any­more.”

Lil­lian Chev­erie’s home is in such a state of dis­re­pair, she has stopped let­ting any­one visit her for fear they might in­jure them­selves.

Her mini-home sits in a quiet sub­di­vi­sion in the Fal­con­wood area of Charlottetown.

But Chev­erie’s life is any­thing but peace­ful.

She trem­bles with ner­vous­ness as she points to the many prob­lems in her home.

There’s a hole in the floor of her bath­room from when she put her foot through the floor step­ping out of the shower. She was knocked un­con­scious from the fall. Black rot un­der the linoleum ap­pears to be the cul­prit for the dam­age.

More of the same black­ness can be found on the floor around her back door, which she has trou­ble open­ing.

All but one win­dow in her home has been glued shut to keep ice and wind from get­ting in dur­ing the cold win­ter months.

There are wide gaps be­tween her front door and its frame. Her wash­ing ma­chine is leak­ing onto her al­ready com­pro­mised floors.

But Chev­erie has been liv­ing with all of this for some time. It’s the lat­est prob­lem that has made her sit­u­a­tion come to a more im­me­di­ate head.

Her in­sur­ance com­pany has told her if she doesn’t have her roof fixed by July 18, she will no longer be cov­ered by in­sur­ance.

“I’m tired of fight­ing to get help,” she said.

“I’m not ask­ing for a hand out. I’m ask­ing for a hand up.”

Chev­erie says her lo­cal MLA, House Speaker Buck Watts, came and vis­ited her home just be­fore her son died by sui­cide three years ago.

“He came in and saw the dam­age. It wasn’t as bad then, but it was bad. And he said ‘You’re a shoe-in for the grants,’” she re­calls.

She sub­mit­ted her ap­pli­ca­tion for the home ren­o­va­tion pro­gram and tried to give them pic­tures of the dam­age to help boost her chances at get­ting a grant, but the de­part­ment would not take her pho­to­graphs.

The pro­gram is based on in­come lev­els and the ren­o­va­tion needs of ap­pli­cants, but both fac­tors can change from year to year, a spokes­woman for the De­part­ment of Fam­ily and Human Ser­vices told The Guardian in an email.

House­holds that make less than $35,000 in combined in­come with a prop­erty value of less than $145,000 are eli­gi­ble to re­ceive up to $6,000 for struc­tural home re­pairs.

Ap­pli­cants with the low­est in­come are the first to re­ceive fund­ing and money is dis­persed un­til the amount al­lo­cated ev­ery year in the pro­vin­cial bud­get has been ex­hausted.

Chev­erie didn’t make the cut the first year she ap­plied, but was told she did not have to re-sub­mit her ap­pli­ca­tion, as it would re­main in the sys­tem.

This year, she was told that wasn’t the case and that she would have to re-ap­ply.

But by the time she learned this, the pro­gram was al­ready closed to ap­pli­ca­tions for the year.

The de­part­ment says ev­ery ap­pli­cant from the 2016 in­take year was sent a let­ter ex­plain­ing why they were not able to re­ceive fund­ing and ad­vis­ing that they would have to sub­mit a new ap­pli­ca­tion for 2017.

Chev­erie is out of luck for the pro­gram this year. As a sea­sonal worker liv­ing in a home in need of se­ri­ous re­pair, Chev­erie now says she is at a loss for what to do.

No one will even re­turn her calls, she says.

“I wanted to show them pic­tures so they could see that I need help,” Chev­erie said.

“Now it just feels like there’s nowhere to turn.”


Lil­lian Chev­erie’s home will no longer be cov­ered by in­sur­ance later this month if she doesn’t fix her roof, but her three-year at­tempt to get help from the province’s home ren­o­va­tion pro­gram has so far been in vain.

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