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Evicted family insist they tried best to pay

Forced to leave: Leasser Swan packs up her things

A day after being ordered out of their Princess Street home, the Swan family last night insisted they had done their best to pay back their rent arrears to the Bermuda Housing Corporation.

The family were speaking after Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said yesterday that evictions were “rare”, but that abuses of the system could not be tolerated.

Leasser Swan said that she and her family had found temporary accommodation with friends after they were evicted from their home on Wednesday night.

Colonel Burch, in an interview with Bernews, said the family were about $17,000 in arrears, $5,000 more than the sum claimed by Ms Swan, as she and her husband Stanley prepared to leave the house.

Ms Swan said last night that the family had made sporadic payments back to the BHC, but had been unable to avoid falling behind.

She said: “I was paying back some of the arrears. I paid off the water bill, but I can’t do what I don’t have.”

Ms Swan said the family was supported by her husband’s income as a contractor, and that she worked with him on painting and renovations, although steady work had been impossible to come by.

She added: “I stopped paying when they told us to get out. That was back in May, when they gave us until Cup Match to leave, but why just put me out?”

Ms Swan said that the home on Hamilton’s Princess Street had been renovated by the family over their 26-year tenure and that they had “made it livable”.

She added her top priority now was to find accommodation for her two children.

Ms Swan said: “We do not have a roof over our heads. We have no residence — bottom line.”