Monthly Archives: June 2010

I need a housing miracle before June 27th

Note: For more info about the medical housing needs of people with severe MCS/ES/EHS, please see the other posts on my blog. There I’ve described the issues in more detail.

I have to leave the balcony I’ve been sleeping on by the 27th of June.

I’m not well enough to be able to handle the toxic chemical exposures I’d be subjected to in a room or unit within “my means” (Ontario Disability Support Program’s budget for shelter costs) as all cheap/”affordable” places are made with the most toxic materials and also maintained with them, as well as sharing air with others who are allowed to use all kinds of toxic products that don’t respect property lines.

I’m physically burnt out from trying to stay alive after crash number 4 and 5 (or something like that) and after raising kids with limited means and continued exposures driving my health reserves down even further. I need a place to heal, I can’t struggle just to survive any longer, there isn’t anything left to draw from.

I simply don’t have the practical, physical, emotional, resources or help needed to be able to survive another round of neurotoxicity from cheap products, materials, etc, and right now that is all that is available to me.

Other people receive health care and assistance to live with their medical needs and disabilities. Those of us with chemical injury and EHS do not, despite what that Star article claimed. The obstacles and chemical barriers are systemic, and so far there isn’t any serious effort to change that.

So unless there is someone out there with a safe enough place for me to live, I have just over 2 weeks left before I am homeless again and then I also won’t have any income or ability to eat, or protect myself from exposures.

Below is what I need in a new home in order to stay alive. This list is based on the least toxic materials that are used more often (not customized). It is not based on fashion, as I can’t have guests to show it off to anyway, it is based on survival needs only. It is what I need to stay alive and recover some health and abilities.

A temporary place that is safe may allow more time to find a more permanent place, but then I also have to pay for the continued storage of my household belongings, so would have little left to pay for rent.

For $500 a month including utilities (ODSP does not even provide that much) I need:

1. 2 bdrm, 1 story, with private exterior access, no shared air, with private laundry.
2. No air fresheners, scented candles, indoor smoking or in-house pesticide applications, strong cleaners, mold or mildew issues.
3. Acreage to protect from neighbouring chemical use, especially dryer vents–away from nearby houses, rail, hydro lines, cell towers, agricultural and golf course pesticides and fertilizers, and other air pollution, especially upwind (usually NW).
4. Need solid wood or ceramic/stone tile floors, stainless steel or enameled sinks, enameled tub and tile surround, solid counters, cabinets of solid wood, metal, glass, (not particle board and laminates, no carpet, laminate floor, plastic tubs and surrounds, and even wood paneling could be a problem–what is the wood finished and cleaned with?–as all those materials absorb chemicals and keep off-gassing them).
5. VACANT NOW
6. Electric heat, NO OIL, forced air, or gas (propane generator for emergency use only is ok)
7. Garage preferred
8. Within one hour of a year-round source of organic food and produce not from a supermarket or scented store- i.e., need a natural foods store or food co-op? Community Supported Agriculture programs?
9. No plastic/vinyl siding outside as that off-gasses in the sun (brick is ideal) OR recent renovations including paint inside.

I need to install whole house water filtration and my own private laundry machines, especially washer (can live without dryer if sunny, safe outdoor clothesline is possible).

Would like to be able to grow some of my own organic food so safe garden space would be appreciated.

The search area is this:

Outside Toronto and other cities/towns because of the need to avoid dryer vents and toxic laundry products, personal care products, lawnmowers, etc that close neighbours use.

Far from industry, agriculture, rail and power transmission lines, cell towers, as well as major touristy beaches, golf courses, neighbours, etc., but having year round fresh organic food accessible, not from a supermarket or highly fragranced health food store:

* The south east corner is at 7 and 41 around Kaladar.
* The north east corner is at 41 and 60, between Golden Lake and Eganville.
* The north limit is under Algonquin Park.
* And east of 11 by some distance ie #35

Need to check availability of year round organic produce.

Southern boundary
Hwy 7 to the south on the east side (between 12 and 41).
Hwy 12 up and over Lake Simcoe from 7 .

Eastern boundary
Hwy 41 to the east (between 7 and 60) but some areas north a bit of 7, but not including towards Ottawa/Renfrew may be ok.
Away from soap factory in Perth or Smith Falls and not around Sharbot Lake

Northern boundary
Hwy 60 at the north (between #35 in the west and 41 in the east).
(under Algonquin park)

Western boundary
East of Hwy 11 – #35 and #60 at the north end, down to the eastern side of Lake Simcoe

Between Madoc and Perth near hwy 7 is Sharbot Lake where they are planning (and fighting) uranium mining. Chalk River /Pembroke to the north of there also have uranium issues.Those places are out. Golf courses are not an added bonus, they use pesticides. Beaches are full of people wearing toxic sun products. I need isolation to avoid the products and materials that disable me in order to recover my health.

I need a miracle.

These movers are not to be trusted re their billing practices

These movers are not to be trusted re their billing practices. They will rip you off.

Bull Pull Moving Hauling Rentals
1111 Finch Ave W Unit 11
NY, ON
M3J 2E5

416 800 2682

They promised 26 foot truck and 2 men for $60 an hour on the phone (the other choice was a 30something foot truck and 3 men for $90 an hour).

They arrived late on the 14th of May with a pick-up truck and less than 20 foot trailer (I was too sick and surprised to think to measure or photograph the thing, but a Toronto Star photographer was there documenting the move for at least a couple of hours)

My Dad paid for a 4 hour minimum of $240. + tax = $252 by credit card at the very beginning (when they showed up).

The guys were over 30 minutes late (that is neither here nor there in the big picture), then stood around numerous times when things were not coming down and out of the house by the landlord’s contractors, instead of helping to pack the paintings that WJ wouldn’t let us inside to pack the day before, my paintings were outside with all the packing materials, but the movers, despite being asked to help pack them, did not assist (the landlord’s people were removing my belongings from the house and had damaged many of my art packing boxes too, but that is yet another story… WJ Properties allowed the boxes to get wet and trampled on because they wouldn’t allow me to put them in the house the day before, so I can’t return them for a refund either, well over $200 I lost there).

At about the 2.5 hour mark I think, the owner or guy in charge of Bull Pull decided to close up the trailer and come back for a 2nd trip.
They were very slow arriving at the storage locker, they had stopped to get gas on the way. My friend and I drove separately in a car and waited.

Then once at the locker, I had to sign another credit card slip (blank) before they would unload my things. What choice did I have? He refused to unload and said they’d drive off if I didn’t sign.

Once those things were in the locker, we went back to the house (where they arrived late, having stopped for dinner) and put in the remaining items, then were to meet at the locker again.

My friend and I waited an awfully long time. Turns out they went for donuts and the bank while on the way with my things in their trailer. I was really sick at this point and really needed to be in bed, but we had to wait.

So when the trailer was empty, (and everything had fit into a less then 25 foot locker with much vertical room to spare, so would have fit into one 26 foot truckload and most likely in a 4 hour period if they had helped pack the artwork) I was handed the new bill

This was for another 4 hour minimum PLUS a 2nd trip charge of $60 and another $60 for travel time (they had bought gas, had donuts, had dinner, gone to the bank during the time I was paying) for a total of $378.

We wouldn’t have needed a 2nd trip if

– they came with a 26 foot truck like they said, (choice was 26 foot truck -they didn’t say shorter trailer and pick-up, or a 30 something foot truck and 3 guys)

– if they had actually done some of the packing of the paintings etc while waiting… instead of standing around talking (yes they were asked to help more than once)

We probably would have finished in the 4 hours, definitely not needing a 2nd trip if they had the right size truck…

Maybe only one more hour charged to me at $60 on top of the original $252 instead of another $240 + 120 + tx of $17 , = $378 + the $252 = $630

So they billed me the time for getting gas on the way to the locker, then the time for having dinner, then donuts, and banking all in the 2nd portion, plus the 2nd trip charge and that other charge for travel time, on top of the hourly and a minimum which had already been paid, and we were less than 3 hours over at the very end, most of it spent waiting for them doing their thing while I was being charged for it, and then arguing about the bill.

My storage locker is almost 25 feet long (a bit shorter) and there was plenty of room left to pile higher, so it would have ALL very definitely fit into a truck the promised size.

PLUS I already gave him a couple of plants– one was a hibiscus tree that would be well over $100, possibly $300, a tree my grandmother had grown from a rootling, and the other one was also from her, a large philodendrum, worth a minimum of $45, before he sprung that 2nd bill on me.

My friend was shocked by it too, but was not able to reason with him either.

To me this was not only fraudulent, but definitely taking advantage of a disabled and poor woman in poor health (who knows if he would have done this to my dad or another man). I don’t know if his being from Afghanistan had anything to do with the way he treated me, but it is a possibility. He did not discuss the extra billing with my dad at the beginning, but sprung it on me when I was already feeling very sick from all the exposures. Then he had the nerve to tell me all movers charge like this.

I think I should get at least $300 back. I’ll pay an hour extra, but the rest was definitely not of my doing.

I need this money for disability related medical requirements that are not covered by any other supports I receive.

I have had so many people take advantage of me and spread misinformation that it would be nice to see some justice done somewhere in my life.

This post is my personal opinion.

Kind regards,

Linda Sepp
Toronto

Update on my situation, dated April 25

Note: I wrote this on April 25, 2010, just prior to eviction from my home on May 4.

Despite trying to make something work, there have been many obstacles. My Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is very severe.

I react to the chems in tap water so cannot wear clothes washed with it (and haven’t been able to afford whole house water filtration despite needing it for over a year). I cannot wear my safest sandals for more than a few minutes without my skin and muscle being affected. So, I have no clothes I can wear out, and this also means that the chemical residues in floors, walls, etc, will be more than I can live with. I haven’t used chemical cleaners on my floors here in 20 years, the walls haven’t been painted in at least 12, the exposures that have affected me here blow in from outside my unit (the 2nd floor of a 3 story house).

I’ve been here deteriorating since 2006 when I was already so severely affected that the house-hunting then made me crash for months and that was topped off by 4 rounds of asphalt on the road, in front as well as a slew of other serious exposures that I was unable to escape.

I very nearly died and it has taken all my efforts to survive, to stay alive, in hopes that all the time that was passing could allow something safe enough to be created, as it was becoming increasingly clear that everything already out there was not going to allow me to live. I don’t have the physical reserves I used to have. They’ve been depleted several times over.

The offer from the landlord seemed great on paper, yet they wouldn’t pay an expert within the budget, and it took till the end of November to have a qualified expert agree to work without pay but for a bonus after the fact. We discussed what needed to be done and determined that without a new build, we’d have to gut and rebuild a good deal of the interior of any existing place. He created a list of “bones” that a house would need to have to make it worth gutting and rebuilding for me. And the area could not have any sources of major pollution, so that I could be outside as much as possible, especially if there needed to be more offgassing etc.

By the time he came on board there was 3 feet of snow in many places in the province and the market was shutting down for the holidays. When things started thawing a bit all we found were places with major pollution nearby, or places that did not have the “good bones”, or they were too expensive, or not empty. The average price of a house in this province is $333,000.

There was one place that seemed a possibility, but it was a real dump inside, and he was out of the country for a few weeks at the end of my deadline period. I was also told it was too far for him to travel to personally oversee any work. That meant it could not be done safely, if at all.

After the deadline I was contacted about a place that was built for and by someone with Environmental Illness, but it was a 1bdrm house and $40,000 over budget. It also needed a wall built to create a 2nd bedroom as it was open concept and I need the 2nd room to keep many of my things in (there was no other storage there). Admittedly the bathroom seemed big enough to throw a single cot into so I could have also slept in there.

The Member of Parliament (MP) contacted the landlord about this option but it was decided that it was well over budget and there-fore a no go.

Toronto Housing did find a 1 bedroom apartment that they could have washed down with baking soda for me. It was on the 2nd floor of a many unit building, and even if they agreed to wash the stairs and the 2nd floor hall with safer products, the residues from other people would have meant that I would have become a prisoner in the unit, with no chance of ever walking out. The bldg also has several wireless antennas on the roof which affected me merely being driven past them last year, and I’ve become more EMF/EMR sensitive since then.

I have not committed any crimes, I have not murdered anyone or stolen millions of dollars… yet I was expected to voluntarily accept what amounts to a prison cell where I would have been tortured 24/7 with chemical residues and EMF/EMR from within the unit and from outside the unit. I would not have survived the move, I’d never walk out of there alive, and no hospital room in this province was willing to prepare a safe enough room for me in advance.

To me it seemed like a waste of energy to have people go to all the work to move me there if it’s just to die.

My criteria developed because of the severity of my MCS/ES. People who have not spent months near death (not merely thinking like you’re going to die as with a bad flu, or after “a” bad exposure, but having several bad exposures when already depleted…) have no way of understanding.

I keep having people get upset with me for not accepting what has been offered, they tell me to think more positively. If that’s all it took, I would have been out of here years ago. I’d also be rich now, I’d have built MCS villages in every part of every country.

I was willing to accept palliative care when in the winter it was looking like nothing was going to work out. But one of the team members kept telling me to imagine a happy life with my cats (while they were trying to get me a safe room that I wouldn’t be able to leave to pee or shower or cook, wouldn’t be able to use my computer in as it would offgas too much, would have been a prisoner -and to have 3 cats in there with a litterbox and cat food? The visualization was not working for me so I started imagining being happy with the cats in a place I could LIVE and not die. But all that was coming my way were places I could die.

Wishful or positive thinking and fear do not make a person with severe MCS (who has already lived through several rounds of making a home safer and losing much of everything that anyone can lose) more able to survive exposures to chemicals and other substances that disable the brain and body. The body cannot “mask” or adapt when the load is too great.

A few people who have survived have all had able and willing close friends or family to take care of all the other details. I do not have this. Most people in my position have already died. They don’t live long enough to have their story told.

As the reality of the housing situation has developed, I’d already lost contact with most previous “normal” friends, and my family members are not in any position to do much to help. The people who have tried to help have all been brick walled by lack of finances, resources, systemic obstacles and toxic chemicals.

MCS/ES is a recognized disability and as such, there should be some appropriate accommodation in the world out there for us. Right now there is nothing here. There is no health-care, no housing, no home-care, no safe appliances, technologies, or repair people, no funding for life support systems like adequate water filtration, etc. We are abandoned to die if we cannot be shoved into a toxic box to live… well, we’ll all be shoved into a toxic box one way or another.

So while there are people who have been trying to help, they have not had the tools or resources that are needed to help. I am without almost every single practical support that they have tried to arrange for me. And the few supports (like getting the heat back on and side door garbage pickup) that they did arrange were plagued with problems.

The oxygen came full of chemical residues and issues that took weeks of recovery time and offered no benefit…

My food (organic veg from a farmers market and dry goods from a health food store) has been brought to me for 3 years now by my over 80 yr old father who’s health has been declining since his last surgery in the fall, and more recently by another friend who I met online. I don’t have people able to shop or search for other needs I have, and most of the time I am unable to pursue much myself. Most of my inquiry emails go unanswered and using the phone can be very painful and often disables me for the whole day.

So when I’m told, or even encouraged to accept that all I can have is a toxic prison cell where I will be tortured 24/7 by exposures to things that disable me, where I won’t be able to think clearly, and I won’t be able to get out of bed to feed the cats or prepare my own food, or take the litter and garbage down the hall to the chute, but that they will try to get me help, when in 3 years no-one could arrange for safe water and clothing, or help me cook and clean, etc, then pardon me for turning down what would amount to a horrible death, imprisoned and tortured for crimes I did not commit. I cannot see how that is in my best interest. I don’t see how that is in anyone’s best interests.

I am not afraid of death. I just don’t want to die in horrible pain with a mind that is poisoned from toxic exposures. I’ve already very nearly died. I’ve volunteered in palliative care, and been there with people who are dying. In many ways death would be a relief, IF I can die with a clear mind and conscience. If indeed my only options are death by a toxic house or apartment (I would have turned down a toxic million dollar mansion too) or homelessness, then perhaps someone will drive me somewhere with a view so I can die outdoors, but at least with a clear mind instead of one poisoned by toxic chemicals.

If the powers that be have determined that I don’t have enough value to be protected, safely housed and appropriately cared for, that people like me (and many of you) are not worth saving, that it’s ok to discard honest disabled people who care about the welfare of others, while bailing out crooks in financial and industrial circles, and if there are others who have the means to be doing something for chemically injured people, but instead choose to do something easier, then good luck to everyone.