MCS Safe Home: Help Send a Letter of Support for Wendy Kearney to Housing Nova Scotia

Dear readers

Please read the following with an open heart and either go to Wendy Kearley’s website and click on the following links to send a letter of support:

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(image source: Wendy’s Facebook Page)

“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 needsThe 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.

#LetWendyStay
#LetWendyLive

Thanking you sincerely,
Wendy Kearney”

Click here to send a letter of support

Click on the image to send a letter of support for Wendy Kearney to stay in her MCS safe home.

Click on the image to send a letter of support for Wendy Kearney to stay in her MCS safe home.

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MCS safe house for Wendy. Nova Scotia Housing: Let Wendy Stay!

(image source: Wendy’s Facebook Page)

More

‘Wendy’s House’ Facebook Page

The Hon. Joanne Bernard

Housing Nova Scotia

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

New Rental and Throwing Stuff Out

Impulsively, I went online, looking for a rental, my mould-induced-scatterbrained thoughts: just a rolling tumbleweeds in the moment. The area I’m building in is made up of a hundred or so houses; the likelihood of finding a suitable rental there is made up of the odds: 1 to nothing. It took one year to find the rental I’m in now (on the opposite, busy end of town). And usually, its’s old non-renovated beach shack at max. However, the outside air is clean when my neighbours are not spraying, burning (illegally) and mowing. The traffic is low, even in the terrorist tourist season because there are no shops on my new side of town. Alas, there’s a beach and a marine national park, which just means fishing to some. Even if our oceans are suffering. Who cares, he’?! I do.

The side of town, I’m on now is right near the bay; during weekends, the sunnier it is, the more I’m locked inside with the noise of the two InovaAir filters being the soundtrack to my life. I don’t care. Air-conditioned days are my friend because VOCs cannot outgass. I get the most writing done, sitting in bed, on those days. My dog, Bella, is not impressed (even though she’s off the prozac!); but as Bubba say’s: “What can I do?”

Borrow money. Move to a new rental. Feel it: Exciting, the idea that mould is the only thing making me sick, holding me back from living a life that goes beyond YouTube where I hang out with real people with real faces, not just words typed into a message. The liberation of excitement, hope: An idea I’ve had before when I moved here into WDB no.2 back in 2013: at first. while I cleaned the house, I slept in the wild: my idea of that anyway. Maybe I bought the mould with me; maybe the water damaged ceiling that leaked about a year ago did it. It had already been fixed when I moved in; only to leak again. The owners, gracefully, replaced the roof but the chipboard ceiling remained. It’s only now that I’ve been told I have all the markings of CIRS that I look up at the ceiling and see the water stains do look bigger indeed.

So I’m on the move again. If the next place is a WDB, just shoot me now. Twice, just too make sure.

I’m sick enough to warrant that. I have to try (to live without mould (not get shot, LOL!)). (Have I blogged about how I’m on oxygen? and was told by a doctor that I appear to have CIRS from living in a water damaged building (WDB)?  X 2. Two WDBs. If I move somewhere else, I can have some time and a mould-free area to try and remediate some of my possessions before moving into the build, which if it goes mouldy, I most likely, can’t move out of because I will owe the bank half of half a million dollars.

UPDATE on the build: our bricky cancelled. Am trying to find a new one. We are supposed to be at lock up stage due to the fact that it’s Autumn and it’s that time of year where outdoor moulds are prevalent.

So, for the third time, I will easily give my possessions to charity. All soft furnishings. Mattresses. Maybe electrical. I will gladly, gracefully give all or most of my stuff the St Kilda Gatehouse. (If the Swiffer testing shows that I need to. I didn’t do mould testing last time, just went off of my symptoms and followed some mould protocol I picked from people’s brains in some forums I belong to on the internet. “Mould is not your only problem,” said my Allergist.)

St kilda Gatehouse; a place in my heart. I’ve been giving to this worthy charity since 2010 when I read this book, Red Light Dark Room: sex, lives and stereotypes, a coffee table book fraught with images of the girls, women, boys, men and family that make up St Kilda’s sex industry street workers.

I enjoy giving my hard-to-part-with things to these people.

St Kilda Gatehouse is a safe haven that St Kilda street sex workers and those with life controlling addictions experience as “their place”. Some of the support offered is:

* Community space
* Advocacy and referrals
* Counselling
* Emergency aid
* Prison and hospital visits

St Kilda Gatehouse
 is made up of professionally trained staff and volunteers who work alongside the communities and individuals who access the Centre. Together they use basic, creative and inventive ways to address the issues that confront street sex workers and those with life controlling addictions.

In Novel 2010, at Victoria University (VU) I wrote about the sex industry for a couple of subjects. Mostly from a social justice angle but also a fictitious one. I only wrote about this topic in my fiction classes, where graciously, I was given the freedom and space to write about what I wanted to write about: the sex industry. I workshopped my chapters with the whole class and was never given anything but professional feedback on my work. I’m so proud of those classes I took at St Albans, VU!

Thanks, again to any of my classmates that read this xo

At the end of one of my Fiction classes (Fiction 2, I think?), I asked for donations of clothes, particularly items for babies, old lipsticks!, make-up not used, personal care products (Yeah, I know dear Canaries, I had so much to give :) )

I ended up with a whole car load! I took some garbage bags to school that night so I could cover the stuff with them because of the washing powder. I mean, think about this: I am chemically sensitive and can’t have anyone in my class wear fragrance products, yet here I am asking for them so we can all collectively donate to St Kilda Gatehouse. It was heartening to know my novel’s character touched their writers’ hearts enough to want to give.

It was in this class that one pregnant person said to me, I’ve changed their lives. They would only use organic clean products after meeting me. I explained how organic is not the concern so much as fragrance and the use of products containing chemical-irritants.

Wish I had a list. Everyone bangs on about toxins, but unless it’s biotoxins from mould, chemical-irritants are what harms us. “Toxin” is a weak, vague word! Chemical-Irritants are what’s in luxury fragrances.

When I gave away my possessions due to fragrance ‘allergy’ and after the 2 mouldy houses, I put a note on my charity bags not to give to any families who have asthma or health conditions. People are on the streets who need warm clothing. But I don’t want their health getting touched by mould. Certainly not in the way I’ve been touched. It’s the worse thing. Well not the worse thing that can happen to these people who need our help:

I wrote and article, ‘She’s Someone: A Peaceful Gathering to Honour Tracey‘; sadly, shockingly, wrongly, she was murdered at St Kilda. Her killer was never found. That’s the worse thing that can happen…

BACK TO THE MOULD

I am doing testing this time via a place I found via here. I can’t spend my life washing and sniffing things to see if they’re clean yet; and I can’t keep asking others, like my carer, to do it for me. I only have cold water to wash with so can’t give all my stuff a good hot wash. Besides, I did that last time at the WDB (Water Damaged Building) I lived in before this one.) I can’t, WON’T part with my books, which are the worst offenders for mustiness. I love the smell of an old book; but my body won’t tolerate the chemicals (yet): ink better than mould though. I’ve replaced a lot of my old books with newer version because they had the perfume I use to use all over them.)

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I packed half my books in these plastic containers Dan bought on the weekend. Four more boxes and all my books will be safe! To keep; not read. When I get better I will read them.

But yeah, I’m looking for a way out. We found a new rental. So not only am I building a house, I am renting another house as a chemically sensitive person, which involves a lot of cleaning up of other renters fragrances. All the fragrance that is in previously rented houses doesn’t always wash away but sometimes, and less, more than often, the fragrance comes off and we’ve found a suitable place to live where we won’t get headaches and amplified chronic illness. Like I hope I have.

This new house has carpet. But I felt better as soon as I walked in. There are a lot of tiles. And the areas that are tiled are closed off from the rest of the house’s carpet. It hasn’t been lived in for a while, always a bonus. And has air-conditioning, which I need on a lot of the time. The Australian Government gives me a rebate for this over the summer period because it’s on 24/7. Yes, I get cold.

I can’t be this sick for such a long time: it’s almost, at times, unbearable. (The times when friends and family are not on your side with the fragrances issue; that’s what makes it unbearable. How can I go to a University and be accommodated but not by people who say they love me? Dan? Bubba?)  Now it “appears that I have CIRS” and that I may have physical proof and a disease code to back up my illness, I’m even more chuffed that all I have to do is a few more tests, an MRI (last Thursday)


and move away from the mould so I can get my Macrons tested and take binders to rid my body of the biotoxins (I am told). No wonder I feel so sick. I’m lucky if I have 1 or 2 days a week where I’m well enough to chase up, follow up and decide on house products and issues. I’m lucky I have oxygen as it allows my brain to function at full flight. In bed, writing all day: there are benefits!

Possessions are not the only thing to count unless that’s all you have. If you have no family and you have the nicest clothes you can afford, and live alone and get to write all the time, that sounds good to me. Throwing out your beautiful clothes, not so good,

(I am washing with cold water in the machine we bought over from the other WDB. We keep it outside but not having hot water is bad because I can’t wash mould out. We do use a hell of a lot of vinegar, FF soap and bicarbonate of soda. Once we move into the new house we will have to buy a new machine. I can’t believe there is no government rebate or assistance for mould impacted people, or chemically sensitive people. Neighbour sprays something en masse into your home while your windows are open, too bad. Life as you know it could be over. Unless you’re like, the Australian Prime Minister or something… )

This is the third time I will have to throw stuff out depending on the test results of the mould testing and the species.

The first time I threw out everything was because of the fragrance that was on all my stuff via perfumes, washing powders, everything with fragrance in it, which was everything I owned: and this was back in 2002-3-4. It took sometime. I still have old photos that have my old fragrances on them, which are now scanned. Sometimes, I sniff them so I can go back and remember, feel, almost ‘be’ back in that time of my life.

I got sucked in by Unilever’s smarmy and sexist and misogynistic advertising. I wore Blue Illusion Impulse Body spray for years. I carried it as a weapon in my bag in case I needed to spray it in a guy’s eyes. It says ‘CAUTION’ on the bottle. Oh, and I used it at age 15 to cover the bong smell in my bedroom, one time. I didn’t stop using it as a deodorant until I was 33 and got sick from ‘Inhalant Allergies’ aka ‘just discriminate against me now’ and aka ‘go live a housebound life’. And back when I gave away all my possessions in 2003 when a big truck came to take them away, I cried. I cried as I sat down at the table and threw out most of my photo albums. I’ve kept around 100 photos from my youth, early 20’s and 30’s.

I suppose I grew up that day: material possessions are nothing. If you don’t have your health or your family, you have nothing. 

The first time, I gave all my stuff to another charity called The Salvation Army, who’d helped me out one time. I didn’t know the Gatehouse existed. I just hope my stuff went to a house with children who didn’t have respiratory illness impacted on by mould. You know, chemically sensitive children. Or children with MCS. Or worse, MCS and Electro hypersensitivity. Being marginalised and on the lower-socioeconomic scale and having a controversial illness is like a triple whammy.

I can only imagine the type of discrimination and exclusion they face on a day to day.

You know, there are people in our world who say that MCS doesn’t exist and that we’re mad? The media ignore us. The Australian  NICNAS review made MCS it’s claim to fame (I mean they didn’t use IEI, did they?), but just didn’t follow up with any awareness programs or anything that could make our lives easier.

“A consistent finding from a number of Australian and overseas studies has been the need for further research. Following public consultation, including with MCS interest groups in Australia, a review report entitled A Scientific Review of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Identifying Key Research Needs was published in November 2010…”

And we face the repercussions of that judgement and exclusion from the medical system via ‘No Disease Code’ in a huge way. Nearly all of us people with ‘MCS’ have lost family members and friends due to the systemic use and abuse of personal care products containing fragrances. Perfumes. Aftershaves. Lynx or Axe, depending on what side of the globe you are on–but still made by UNILEVER or some other corporation or company that refuses to use the products on IFRAs list of fragrance ingredients (See, they’re not hiding anything from consumers; just breaking up families and causing a lot of work for Disability Discrimination Legal Services (DDLS)). They could choose ingredients that are not chemical-irritants, sold on to the masses via the latest ‘luxury’ fragrance.

No one wants to stink, including me. I shower each day and I’m pretty sure I don’t smell bad. But everyone else, the whole world it seems, has fragrance on them. And I don’t fit in anymore.

Finding a rental is fraught with difficulty. Yet the first day I looked online I found a place that is carpeted with wool carpet upstairs and tiled downstairs and, get this, it’s one street away from our build so I won’t have to drive my car, which has a water leak in it. Dr Little says Aspergillus is growing under the carpet. He also says, “Mould is not your only problem.”

Anyone want to but a 98′ wagon suburb for 4k? Contact me: Skype Miche1239 (Mouldies don’t apply.)

More

Donate your warm jackets: The St Kilda Gatehouse

Buy the Book: Red Light Dark Room: Sex, Lives and Stereotypes

My ‘Weekend Notes’ article on Tracey Conelly: She’s Someone

My blog post on drops that worked: Pullaria Mould

The machines that are the soundtrack to my life: InovaAir Purifiers

MouldLab: ERMI sampling to show the levels of mould, which will determine if I keep my possessions or not

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

ASEHA: Template Letter for Low-Allergy Housing (QLD)

From

ASEHA (Allergy, Sensitivity & Environmental Health Association Qld Inc)

Template Letter for Applying  for Low-Allergy in Queensland, Australia 

Letter for Doctors and other support people to assist people into the right kind of housing 

This should read:

    1. What is wrong 

Mr/Ms……………suffers with allergy and/or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.

    1. What things affect them

He/she is sensitive to ………… (e.g. carpets formaldehyde, plasticisers, pesticides and other volatile organic compounds VOCs) and reacts adversely to these in his/her environment.

    1. How these affect them

These substances cause Mr/Ms………….. (e.g. severe respiratory problems such as asthma, allergy problems such as anaphylaxis on exposure to fragrances and neurological problems such as (eg migraine)…………………..

  1. Type of accommodation necessary

As the only known treatment for this problem is avoidance of exposure to substances that provoke reactions, Mr/Ms …………. needs to be housed in a detached, 2 bedroom dwelling with no (e.g. formaldehyde, plastics, pesticides, VOCs)………….. This is essential as exposure to synthetic chemicals in the bedroom will cause………………………

Mr/Ms ……………. should not be housed in a unit or town house as cleaning compounds, pesticides, synthetic chemicals and highly perfumed products routinely used by neighbours in his/her immediate vicinity will exacerbate his/her ……………. (eg migraines, asthma,provoke life threatening allergic reactions, respiratory, neurological problems) and unnecessarily compromise his/her life/health.

Sample letter:

Mrs Parker-Brown suffers with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). She is sensitive to formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, terpenes and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), motor exhausts, fragrances, cigarette smoke, pesticides and herbicides.She is also likely to react to most synthetic chemicals in her environment. These substances cause Mrs Parker-Brown intractable migraines, severe muscle spasms, throat swellings and stomach cramps.

As the only known treatment for MCS is avoidance, Mrs Parker-Brown’s accommodation needs are a detached, 2 bedroom dwelling with no levels of formaldehyde, VOCs, pesticides and synthetic chemicals. A second room is essential as exposure to synthetic chemicals in clothing and personal effects in her bedroom will provoke the above symptoms. She needs a room clear of anything that causes ill health to ensure proper rest and a place to recover from chemical exposures.

Mrs Parker-Brown should not be housed in a unit or town house as cleaning compounds, pesticides, herbicides, synthetic chemicals and highly perfumed products routinely used by most people in her immediate vicinity will cause severe symptoms which can damage her health and may threaten her life.It is also possible that ongoing exposure to cleaning compounds, cigarette smoke, pesticides and other chemicals used by neighbours may result in a reaction that will threaten her life or require emergency hospital care, a worsening of her chemical sensitivities and an overall deterioration in her general health

Yours sincerely

Dr Croak (pardon the pun)

If you are unsuccessful in achieving the required level of disability accommodation for your special needs, you have the right of appeal to the Queensland Department of Housing. If you are still unsuccessful following an appeal to the Queensland Department of Housing, you can lodge a complaint on the grounds of disability discrimination to the Queensland Anti Discrimination Commission, or the use the processes of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Discrimination Act.

Contacts:

  • Queensland Anti Discrimination Commission free call 1300 130 670
  • Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission. Complaints infoline 1300 656 419 or website: www.humanrights.gov.au

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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