Less than three months after the story of her deplorable living conditions aired on the news, 62-year-old Merlene King became the recipient of a brand-new home. Today the Belize City Council in partnership with the business sector gifted the mother of two with a comfortable home she can now call her own. In speaking with the media, King said she would have never expected to own such a beautiful home and expressed immense gratitude.
The man behind the plan Mayor Bernard Wagner also spoke to media and shared how this project came into fruition.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: The sheer living conditions of the lady and any time I see an elderly I get emotional because of my late mother and so the sheer deplorable conditions that she was living in I didn’t see it for any human being and I had to try to mobilize to get some measure of resource to assist this lady. I was reading and I had to go back and it was Isani actually was the person who reported on Ms.King and so I told my team “get in touch with Isani let’s find out where this lady lives and how we could help.” and Isani gave us all the information. We came and saw the home and immediately without getting any help yet I told my team we’ll move Ms.King out of the house and we rented an apartment for her in the Lake I area for three months and then I got on the phone and called my good friend Greg Maheia from Atlantic, I called the Taiwanese Ambassador , I called ICB and everybody was quickly on board with it they were quickly on board and I always have to give big respect for our business community and our friends they played a big role in this. We wanted to get it done pretty quick because the longer we stayed we were paying rent so thanks to one of my good friends we were able to get a contractor who worked pretty fast even though we had a lot of rain over the past month we had a lot of rain but we got it done.”
The home came at an estimated cost of twenty-four thousand dollars and was made possible with donations from The Embassy of the Republic of China Taiwan, Nando’s Wholesale, Mikado’s Textiles Palace, Belize Water Services Limited, the Belize Electricity Limited, Atlantic Bank Limited, and the Insurance Corporation of Belize.