From homeless to homeowner

-differently abled man gets $2.4M house

Clive Richmond, a differently-abled man who lived on the street for several years, received the keys to a new $2.4 million home yesterday.

Richmond, 48, who moves around with the aid of a crutch, had managed to purchase land from the proceeds of begging but became a homeowner due to “Beharry Build/Habitat Guyana” partnership, which is a collaboration of Habitat for Humanity and the Edward B Beharry & Company Ltd.

A visibly jubilant Richmond, in the presence of representatives of the Beharry Build/Habitat Guyana partnership, members of the media and well-wishers, was presented with the keys to his new home, which is located at 669 Herstelling, East Bank Demerara. He was also presented with a Bible and a plant symbolic of the new beginning.

Clive Richmond (centre) receiving his Bible from Indra Kowlessar left and Anjuli Beharry right.
Clive Richmond (centre) receiving his Bible from Indra Kowlessar left and Anjuli Beharry right.

“Anyone who tells you, you cannot achieve what you want is a liar,” opined Richmond, as he expressed his gratitude to the partners and God for the “dream come through.”

An elated Clive Richmond receiving his golden apple plant from National Director of Habitat for Humanity, Rawle Small.
An elated Clive Richmond receiving his golden apple plant from National Director of Habitat for Humanity, Rawle Small.

According to a press release from Habitat for Humanity, Richmond was left with one arm and unable to use his legs without support after an accident in 2000.

The release stated that Clive’s mother, due to stress related to the incident and him having to undergo surgeries, passed away. His father also passed away shortly after the death of his mother, leaving a disabled Clive, who found himself on the streets begging, to sustain himself as he was unable to work.

Additionally the release said that Richmond applied for and purchased a piece of land at Providence, East Bank Demerara, from the proceeds of begging. However, he was unable to build a house after several attempts to secure financial assistance from various organisations failed. “Clive and his situation [were] brought to the attention of Habitat for Humanity Guyana. After review, it was realised that Clive was an ideal candidate for housing intervention. Clive is a recipient of the Beharry Build/Habitat Guyana partnership,” the release added.

At the handing over ceremony yesterday, Anjuli Beharry, a Director of Edward B Beharry & Company Ltd, congratulated Richmond and opined that that the company was extremely proud to hand over the house. “To give him somewhere to rest his head at night, to provide him with security and safety, somewhere that he can call his home,” she added. She stated that her company will be embarking on similar projects in the future.

Also speaking at the handing over ceremony was Rawle Small, the National Director of Habitat for Humanity Guyana. He said Richmond visited Habitat’s office and asked about the possibility of them assisting him in building his home. Small said though Richmond was worried, he took his [Small’s] advice and waited until his application was reviewed. Small, who described Richmond as one of the most positive persons he has ever met, opined that the handing over of the house represented a new beginning for Richmond. “We are extremely happy for Clive,”

(From left) Clive Richmond receiving the keys to his home from Habitat for Humanity’s Construction Manager Kiambu Douglas yesterday at his home.
(From left) Clive Richmond receiving the keys to his home from Habitat for Humanity’s Construction Manager Kiambu Douglas yesterday at his home.

said Small, while a smiling Richmond added, “and I am very thankful to everybody.”

The house was constructed in five weeks by contractor Romario McKoy. It contains one bedroom, bathroom and toilet and a kitchen area.

(From left) Clive Richmond receiving the keys to his home from Habitat for Humanity’s Construction Manager Kiambu Douglas yesterday at his home.
(From left) Clive Richmond receiving the keys to his home from Habitat for Humanity’s Construction Manager Kiambu Douglas yesterday at his home.

It was announced that Richmond will be receiving furniture for his home and have his land fenced through the partnership. Yesterday he also received a hamper of Beharry products.

At the culmination of the ceremony, Indra Kowlessar, who was present, was recognised. Indra and her husband, Navin Kowlessar, took in Richmond when they heard of his story. He has been living with the couple and their son for the past six years.

Those gathered were also urged to help donate, volunteer and advocate with Habitat for Humanity to make “more dreams like this come through.”   “We believe that today signifies our devotion to answering the call to provide affordable housing for economically disadvantaged families across Guyana,” said Habitat for Humanity’s Communications Representative.

Beharry Build/Habitat Guyana Partnership

The partnership between Edward B Beharry & Company Ltd and Habitat for Humanity Guyana was established in 2013. The Beharry Build initiative saw a commitment from Beharry in support of housing intervention for single-parents, the extremely poor and those with no means to access housing finance. From every product sold by Beharry, $1 is donated to Habitat towards the construction of homes for individuals that are extremely disadvantaged. Beharry staff also provide hours of volunteer work on build sites.

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