Wheelchair-friendly home gives Jason freedom

When he was finally able to move into an accessible home, Jason discovered a community of supportive friends and the ability to return to school to complete a PhD.

Jason’s second-floor condominium had become more of an obstacle course than a home. With restricted mobility caused by his multiple sclerosis (MS), it was dangerous and time-consuming to navigate his living space in a wheelchair. He spent so much effort trying to create function in an environment that had none for someone in a wheelchair, that he had little time for himself.

His lack of human interaction coupled with the string of worries that occupied his mind — would anyone hear him if he fell, would any of his neighbours be around to help him? — made dealing with his MS more difficult. He was trapped and the only way out was an accessible home. But with AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped) as his source of income, the cost was prohibitive.

Jason finally escaped his situation when he found a barrier-free group home through Accessible Housing with supported living and services for learning independent living skills. “There are people around 24/7 so I know I’m taken care of,” he says. His parents were able to go on a vacation for the first time in 10 years. And he instantly gained a new group of friends. “We share the same struggles and need the same supports. These are my people.”

Not only has Jason had time to build friendships, but he’s been able to complete a PhD in Mathematics as well. “It’s easy to get too involved with a disease like MS; to think about it too much,” he explains. “School allows me to focus on something else. It keeps me sane.”

Being a tenant at Accessible Housing has allowed Jason and others like him to harness their potential. “We want to contribute and this place gives us the tools to do more with our lives,” he says. “Everyone has some sort of challenge but we try to get past it. MS just happens to be mine.”

We want to contribute and this place gives us the tools to do more with our lives.