P.E.I. woman saved from living in summer camper after home burns

A Prince Edward Island woman's prospects are looking up after it was expected she would be facing a long, cold winter inside a camper.

Vanda Milligan now has a mini-home instead of facing a cold winter inside a camper

Vanda Milligan's Elmwood home burned down in September and she's been living in a trailer with a friend. (Submitted by Paul Gauthier)

A Prince Edward Island woman's prospects are looking up after it was expected she would be facing a long, cold winter inside a camper.

Vanda Milligan's Elmwood farm house burned down in September and she lost everything inside, forcing her to move into a friend's camper on the property in order to take care of her animals.

"It was not a promising prospect at that point in time because we really didn't know what we were going to do," she said.

The camper is a simple summer trailer with no plumbing and no running water. Milligan's daughter Nancy said she was worried about the thought of her mom spending the winter in the camper. 

Milligan stands in the trailer she's been sharing with a friend since September. The trailer has no running water and no heating. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"It's better than nothing but...it's heart-breaking because I can't do anything to help her really," she said.

'A big step forward'

But recently, Milligan was able to purchase a used mini-home that's been delivered to the property and said she couldn't be more excited.

"May have to carry water for awhile but if we get heat and electricity, we're moving in," she said. "This is a big step forward."

Milligan was recently able to purchase a mini-home that sits where her old house once stood. She estimates it will cost her another $20,000 to hook up plumbing and electricity and purchase furniture. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The home doesn't have any running water, electricity or furniture in it yet but Milligan says the worst is over.

"There's some steps to do yet but we're gonna get there."

More work to be done

Getting to this point hasn't been easy, Milligan said. Her insurance policies were just enough to pay the outstanding mortgage on the home, and leave her with some left over to help pay for the cost of the new mini-home. 

However, there's more work to be done. 

"Right now, there's nothing inside it beyond a stove and refrigerator," she said. Plumbing, heating, electricity and a septic system still need to be installed. Milligan estimates that it will cost another $20,000.

"I have a mini-home and no money to furnish it," she said.

Overwhelming support

But there have been offers of help.

Milligan said she's been overwhelmed by support from the community and has been offered personal loans from friends and family to help her get back on her feet.

Milligan's says she's grateful for financial support from family and friends to help cover the cost of work needed on the mini-home. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"It's just been amazing. The friends, family, community have just been marvellous," she said. 

Once she moves into the home, Milligan said she's looking forward to celebrating by cooking a roast beef dinner.

"Just in time for Christmas." 

About the Author

Nicole Williams

Nicole Williams is a video journalist with CBC P.E.I. She previously worked as an associate producer with CBC News in Toronto.