Homeless couple appeal for help

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Vishwanath Niapaul and his common in law wife Chanelle Niapaul in their car. – Photo By Sureash ChoIai

A young couple is appealing to the public for help as they are living in their car after becoming homeless.

They need building materials, help with construction, or a place to stay until they can get back on their feet.

Vishwanath Naipaul and his common-law wife Chanelle were evicted from their rented apartment on October 20 after Naipaul lost his job.

Previously they were living at Santa Monica Road, El Carmen Village, St Helena, until the building was destroyed by fire on April 26 last year.

Naipaul spoke to Newsday on October 28. He said he had lost his job as a driver with a transportation company after being evicted.

Vishwanath Niapaul and his common in law wife Chanelle Niapaul show their belongings which they store in their car. – Photo by Sureash Cholai

“When the fire passed through, I lost everything. After we got put out, we loaded everything we had into the car – our clothes, mattress, everything. We go down to the beach to bathe or we are out on the road surviving with the little we have.

“Concerning work, because I don’t have a stable place to live, I can’t work. After I lost my last job, I got a new one, but I had to leave it due to my present situation.

“They called me October 27 to go out October 28, but I couldn’t go out.

“If I got somewhere to stay, the job would take me back. I need a place to stay so I could get a job and then be able to build up enough to rent somewhere. It doesn’t really matter where in the country the place is.”

A letter from the Social Welfare Division, dated May 21, 2021, confirmed that fire officers visited the site on the day of the fire.

It said, “As a result of the fire, Vishwanath Naipaul claimed to have lost his household articles and personal effects which (were) in the building at the time of the fire.”

Another letter from the Disaster Management Unit of the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, dated October 11, 2021, confirmed the date of the fire and also said, “He lost all personal items and household effects. It has been noted that your intervention in this matter will alleviate the impact and assist in bringing back a sense of normalcy and security to him. As a result, Mr Naipaul is now seeking your assistance in order to return to some form of normalcy.”

Naipaul said since the land on which the house stood was not in his name, the ministry said it could not help him with rebuilding.

A letter from his former landlord, dated July 27, 2022, and addressed to the Social Welfare Division, said Naipaul had been renting an apartment from him since August 2021 at Ross Trace in El Carmen Village.

“Mr Vishwanath (sic) informed me that he is going through some financial difficulties, and he was not able to pay his rent for May 2022 to current. “He currently owes $6,000 and a verbal notice was given to him to vacate the premise if his rent payment obligations are not met. Any assistance to help Mr Naipaul would be greatly appreciated as he has no money and no place to live.”

Anyone wishing to help Naipaul and his partner may contact him at 306 8249 or send funds to Unit Trust account 5308807-2.