“My name is Wendy Kearley and I hope you will help me avoid homelessness and death, by convincing the powers that be to let me remain in my safe home.
I am a life-long Nova Scotia resident, a senior citizen, and a woman who happens to be diagnosed with severe, disabling Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS). MCS is a disability recognized by the Canadian Human Rights Commission under the umbrella term environmental sensitivities.
I moved to my New Glasgow home, a detached, single-family, subsidized house, in 1989 with my three children. Housing Nova Scotia wants to evict me from my safe and accessible home because technically, I am now “over-housed” since my children moved out, even though I am completely housebound due to it being the only place I have any control over exposures to the chemicals that harm my health.
People with MCS are adversely affected by exposures to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and chemicals found in many common products such as pesticides, perfumes, gas, car exhaust, tobacco smoke, new carpets, fragrances, paints and building materials, personal care, cleaning and laundry products, air “fresheners”, molds, even trees and other plants. The sources of harmful exposures are numerous and everywhere.
A recent study posted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, highlights reliable biomarkers for MCS and EHS, and strongly suggests a risk of chronic neurodegenerative disease, like ALS (Lou Gehrig’s) and Huntington’s disease.
Toxic chemicals affect everyone at higher levels and in the long run, but for people with MCS, exposures to even small amounts act like poison and can cause severe and even life threatening symptoms. Exposure to certain chemicals, both natural or man-made, have caused permanent, multi-system organ damage, affecting my neurological, digestive, and respiratory systems – every part of my body!
My MCS symptoms are not merely inconvenient, they are severe and disabling.
My medical specialist’s instructions are to avoid the exposures that harm and disable me. I can’t leave my home, and I have to keep my windows closed at all times because of what other people do and use. I wear an industrial respirator to even answer the door. My diet consists of only 10 simple organic foods due to allergies and sensitivities.
Toxic exposures can result in the loss of my safe foods, and cause more hearing and vision loss, as well as other serious symptoms that could affect my ability to function permanently.
My medical specialists have concluded that I require a detached, two-bedroom, single-family, chemical-free house to maintain my health, not an apartment, a duplex, or a semi detached house.
As a disabled, low-income female senior citizen, to stay alive I need subsidized housing that accommodates my disability. My current house has been scent free for 10-15 years. I tolerate this environment well. My medical specialists have stated that it is best for me to stay in my current home to prevent deterioration of my health
I am being evicted from the only safe, accessible home available to me because of a bureaucratic technicality. Eastern Mainland Housing Authority did offer two alternative units in 2014, but they were not safe or accessible and did not meet my medical or disability related needs. No other assistance has been offered.
On my own, there is no way I can afford housing that even comes close to meeting the medical needs of my condition. Creating an accessible home for someone with severe MCS takes years of work, and pre-existing dwellings cannot be made safe enough without major, time consuming, and expensive work, which cannot be undertaken by someone in my condition.
My current home is “safe” for me.
There is no other housing available in Nova Scotia that is affordable, safe, and accessible for people with severe MCS, and which meet my medical needs. The Province of Nova Scotia needs to treat people who have disabling MCS with respect, inclusion, equality, and dignity. We need safe, accessible, affordable housing, the same as people with other disabilities do.
There are no other viable options available for me, now or anytime in the foreseeable future. Forcing me to leave here would subject me to homelessness and life threatening exposures from which I cannot recover. Extremely stressful eviction extensions and rental subsidies to move elsewhere are not useful or helpful when medically required safe, accessible, and affordable housing does not exist.
Shouldn’t I be allowed assisted living and accessible housing, not being offered assisted dying?
Purchasing and maintaining this (or any other) home is not possible with my limited, fixed income, so until there is purpose-built, affordable and accessible housing for people with MCS, I request that I be allowed to remain in my current home with no more threats of eviction, and that I continue to receive a housing subsidy from Housing Nova Scotia.
According to Housing Nova Scotia: “Housing is more than a roof over our heads. It’s a safe haven, it means family, it means our neighbourhoods, and it’s the place we call home. The right housing options help improve lives… We believe that at every stage of life, Nova Scotians deserve to be able to find a good home at a price they can afford. Our job is to ensure a range of programs, services and homes are available to Nova Scotians.”
To help me, please help them do the right thing and contactHousing Nova Scotia CEO Dan McDougall by email at HNSCEO@novascotia.ca or by phone at 902-424-8015.
The Hon. Joanne Bernard, Minister responsible for Housing Nova Scotia, Minister of Community Services, Minister responsible for the Disabled Persons Commission Act and Minister responsible for Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Dartmouth North, can be contacted by email at DCSMIN@novascotia.ca or by phone at 1-877-424-1177 .
Ask them to do the right thing, to allow me to live, which means until there is purpose-built, affordable and accessible housing for me (and others with MCS), that they allow me to stay in my current home with no more threats of eviction, and that I continue to receive the housing subsidy from Housing Nova Scotia.
Thanking you sincerely,