Category Archives: Accessibility

CBC News Hi-lights Accessibility Barriers to Housing for People With MCS/ES

Severe sensitivity to household chemicals leaves GTA man
homeless for the holidays

Environmental sensitivities have forced Oliver Zhang to move 70 times in 3 years


I hope that someone can offer or help create a safe place for Oliver Zhang to live.

I also hope that something is done soon to ensure safe, affordable, accessible,  non-toxic, mold-free, housing is available for all  the other people who have  MCS/ES (a condition, not disorder) who need safe and accessible housing.

Since finding a safe place to rest one’s head and body is so challenging, even in the best of current circumstances, Oliver Zhang should not be forced to leave the shelter where he is currently residing if it is physically safe enough for him to be there.  He is in crisis.

Forcing people onto the streets creates preventable trauma and mental health problems in addition to the serious challenges that already exist when trying to survive with MCS/ES in a society full of systemic accessibility barriers.

I know of many people who have had to move numerous (even countless) times  in their quest to find housing that doesn’t hurt and disable them. I hear from too many who are in crisis,  seeking accessible housing. I know people who no longer have the energy to keep looking for a needle in a haystack, because each toxic haystack leaves them more and more incapacitated. I know people with MCS/ES who are sleeping in cars and tents, and I have also known more than a few people who weren’t able to find safe housing and are no longer with us.

This is a preventable crisis.

Oliver Zhang and all the other people who are homeless due to the lack of accessible housing for people with MCS/ES, have been put into this position due to systemic neglect (if not deliberate discrimination) and bad policies, not through any fault of their own.

The City of Toronto has known about the critical need for accessible housing for people with MCS/ES since at least 2007, and most likely long before.

In 2008:

“The City of Toronto has launched a consultation process on the development of the City’s ten-year affordable housing plan, known as Housing Opportunities Toronto (“HOT”); and

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When There’s No Accessible Potty

 

This washroom isn’t accessible:

 

neither is this one:

 

nor are the Ontario highway and other washrooms that have these installed:

Pesticides and fragrance! What could go wrong?

 

Many of us cannot go into a washroom that has an air effer or scented soap.

“In addition to the possibly life threatening immediate and delayed adverse health effects, “our clothes are contaminated and need to be aired out for days before we can even wash them or they contaminate more of our clothes.”
(from a  fb comment on the last post
)

So what to do?

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How NOT to Do a Scent (or fragrance) Policy

This is why so many people with MCS/ES, MCAD/MCAS, asthma, migraines,  and fragrance allergies and sensitivities lose their jobs and end up  housebound.

When policies are mere wallpaper, they become dangerous.
Real people’s lives and well-being are threatened.

Please, do not put up a sign if you are not going to respect or enforce it.

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Sharing My Truth

Jacqueline originally shared her public speaking experience at a noncompetitive StorySlam with the theme ‘Misunderstood’ in a fb group, and very graciously accepted my invitation to share her story here with you.

 

Guest Post by Jacqueline Rice

Photo of me sharing my truth @ Ex Fabula (from stories), the MKE storytelling organization.   Photo from Ex Fabula

 

Here’s the excerpt from the blog entry from their website:

Invisible Stories

“Not all stories have a resolve, but instead bring a call to action. Like Teller Jacqueline, who shared her invisible disability with the crowd. Due to carbon monoxide poisoning Jacqueline was forced to alter her lifestyle in dramatic ways. Her exposure to carbon monoxide caused her to be intolerant to chemicals such as perfumes and sprays. Because of this, Jacqueline can’t be in many public spaces. Thank you, Jacqueline, for using your voice and story to advocate for many others with invisible disabilities.”

How it felt for me at the mic in front of 200+ people: Continue reading

Choices… We Always Have Some

When Toxics Drift

we end up with choices.

Sit outside for a little while to get some Vitamin D

or

Be able to think, wash dishes, and/or make something to eat

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Fragrance-Free Initiative From UC Boulder’s OIT

 

The Fragrance-Free Initiative from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) has created a video I really like,  and they have also put together some other resources that can be useful to learn from when creating fragrance-free policies.

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Every Day is Earth Day

When we pollute our planet,
we  pollute ourselves.


If we don’t look after our life support system, how will we live?

We all need clean air, clean water, healthy soil, and safe food.

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