As the end of my time at university approached Jarred and I began the search for our very first home together. Limited by budget and location as well as wheelchair access we were prepared for a difficult and stressful experience, but even our strong cynicism could never have prepared us for what lay ahead.
The first hurdle came in the form of the letting agents, or rather the lack of accessible letting agents. I was entirely dependent on Jarred to go and speak to the letting agents face-to-face, and because of this the letting agents would always contact Jarred before me despite the fact that I would be the one paying the deposit and administrative fees. I couldn’t tell if this was because I wasn’t a man, disabled, or simply because I couldn’t get into the office, but it was frustrating none-the-less.
Over the Easter break in 2017 a flat within our budget and desired location became available for viewing. The day before we were due to visit the flat Jarred found the building while doing some shopping in the city centre, so we wouldn’t be late for our appointment. To his dismay he saw that the main entrance to the building had a large step in the door, despite reassurances from the letting agent that the building could accommodate a wheelchair. Fortunately the receptionist saw him standing outside with a bemused look on his face and came to his aid. Jarred explained his predicament and the receptionist kindly showed him the accessible route into the building; down a steep ramp into the garage beneath the building, where a lift was situated next to the stairwell.
The next day we went together to view the flats on offer. We were on time and the receptionist let us in through the garage, and we met the letting agent in reception. We took the lift to the fourth floor and travelled along the narrow corridor to the furthest door. The flat was a small bedsit with the kitchen immediately on the left as the door opened, and the bathroom on the right. The lounge was at the opposite end of the kitchen, with the bedroom next to it, and all the rooms were connected in a loop. It was tiny and although it could fit the wheelchair in, it was a tight fit.
Not convinced, we decided to look at the other accessible flat on offer which was facing the bedsit. The door opened onto a short corridor that could comfortably accommodate my wheelchair, even with a shoe rack in it. On my right was the bathroom, which I could move around in freely in my wheelchair, and the bedroom was also accessible. Finally we went into the lounge/kitchen/dining area which was spacious and light. The electric meter and bin store were down a step but I could manage these on walking sticks if Jarred hadn’t got to them first. It was just within our budget, in the perfect location, and could accommodate my wheelchair without too many problems so we immediately put the deposit down on the flat.
After this came the paperwork, which was the most complex stage of the process, particularly because the letting agent said they needed me to sign the papers in person, insisting that I go to the office to do so. They refused to come out to the flat as a meeting point, despite this only being around the corner from their office, and eventually they compromised by letting us sign online versions of the documents. Then Jarred went to collect the keys.
Jarred was given two sets of keys for the flat, including one for me which included access to the garage. Unfortunately while the garage key worked, the key that allowed access to the lift from the garage was an old key that didn’t work. Jarred’s keys did not work on this door either, and it took a lot of arguing to convince the letting agent that I couldn’t simply rely on Jarred to go through the main door (which worked) to run downstairs and let me in from inside the building. They seemed to have no concept of my desire for independence, or the fact that I would be coming and going under my own steam more often than with company. Fortunately I had had the foresight to ensure that there was a week’s overlap from our old apartments to our new one, so I simply stayed in my old apartment for a few days until the issue was resolved.
I think this whole debacle emphasises how difficult it can be for disabled people to be independent, whether that be due to inaccessible buildings or the general attitude that those with disabilities are incapable of independence. Obviously I say this as a wheelchair user, but I’m certain that those with other disabilities are subjected to a similar attitude themselves.
5 thoughts on “Find a Home.”
Is there anyone out there like me? I have a traumatic brain injury from domestic violence that doesn’t show up on MRI’s. But I am not normal anymore. I can’t do math or follow a recipe. I am so depressed. My family abandoned me. My house is filthy because I can’t concentrate. My dog has cancer and she is my best and only friend. Az denied my disability and I haven’t had any income for eleven years. I starve sometimes because I forget to eat until my stomach ia hugging my backbone. I webt through menopause and cant afford hormones so these hot flashes nake me crazy. I get $182 in food stamps but don’t have the energy to go to store. My roommate goes but doesn’t get anything i like really. If not for him I would be homeless. He was just supposed to let me stay here and let me recover from a surgery 8 years ago and has been stuck with me since. Because of my denial of benefits. I have 4 or 5 teeth just rotted off at the gums . Chronic migraines. A pinched nerve in my back. A seizure disorder. I went to counseling to find out they would only see me nine visits. I really liked my counselor too. He was promoted after my 7th visit. It’s not the first time I have been to counseling. I have been to counseling when I was kidnapped by a taxi driver. When I got my brain injury. When my husband cheated on. When my parents divorced etc. I can’t seem to find anyone like me now or any help. I have no income and a final appeal for disability coming up. I get botox for my migraines which helpa little bit. However i feel so alone. I can only cuddle with my dog. I can’t relate to people anymore. I desperately help with so many things and Helped people my whole life before i got hurt. Family, friends, strangers., over and over again. I just don’t understand why I am being abandoned and constantly abused. I haven’t even told you about a quarter of the abuse i have suffered everyone has abandoned me. I know I used to look nice and probably still appear kind and maybe sound normal but I am not. I need help and lots of it. I would like to start a business some day. But that would be a far away goal because i need so much help before. Is anyone out there listening or reading this?
I’m reading this but not sure I can help you myself. Are there any charities near you that could offer any kind of support?
My roommate is an alcoholic and that is very hard on me as well. I was trying to figure out where one of those Alonon meetings were and can’t figure it out much less find charities. I live in Mesa AZ. My Doctors, Family everyone knows I have thiese problems. I feel like a forgetten victim you know what i mean? How does anyone expect a person to live with no money, dental a back injury and all my health injuries and keep sane? I am losing it. I’m on the edge. I don’t want to call my grandchildren or anything.
I understand your plight. It might be worth reaching out to your grandchildren; you never know.
I wish I knew ❤️