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Emergency home for single dad

PUBLISHED: 16:37 01 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:11 03 July 2010

Gary Chaplin and two-year-old Kaiden

Gary Chaplin and two-year-old Kaiden

A former soldier's 11th hour plea for affordable housing for himself and his young son has been accepted by housing officials.

Just 24 hours before Gary Chaplin and two-year-old Kaiden were set to become homeless officials at Great Yarmouth Borough Council confirmed emergency accommodation had been found for them in King Street, Yarmouth.

A former soldier's 11th hour plea for affordable housing for himself and his young son has been accepted by housing officials.

Just 24 hours before Gary Chaplin and two-year-old Kaiden were set to become homeless officials at Great Yarmouth Borough Council confirmed emergency accommodation had been found for them in King Street, Yarmouth.

As reported in last week's Mercury Mr Chaplin's desperate situation was triggered by the death of his girlfriend Rebecca Iverson soon after she gave birth to their son forcing him out of the army where he had earned early promotion to lance corporal and onto civvy street as single dad.

Although the 21-year-old has a full time job the cost of childcare and loans mean private rents are beyond his reach and the situation reached crisis point last week when his mother and her new husband had to leave the home they all shared in Palgrave Road.

Mr Chaplin and Kaiden moved into the two-bedroom flat on Wednesday. Although sparsely furnished he said he was grateful to have a roof over his head and to sidestep the prospect of sofa-surfing at friends.

He added that he was overwhelmed by the messages of support. “So far it has worked out a lot better than I was expecting when I woke up on Tuesday morning facing my last night in the house. Hopefully we can come to an agreement about the rent and bills but I can with it for a month or so. They had arranged a meeting for me on the 6th of October but I needed a place before that. I still have that meeting and am hoping there will be a decision on whether I can be put on gold banding which means I may get a place.”

Little Kaiden he said was blissfully unaware of the turmoil and coping well.

Mr Chaplin joined the Royal Signals at 16 and was preparing for his first tour in Iraq when his pregnant girlfriend Rebecca, 17, developed a blood clotting disorder, dying shortly after their son was born. After taking a compassionate discharge from the army getting to grips with fatherhood on his own has been a challenge, but he remains determined to work and set a good example to his young son.

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