Category Archives: Housing

Human Rights and Housing: New Resources for Community Workers Supporting Clients with Chemical and Environmental Sensitivities

Canadian Lawyer Magazine and The Law Foundation of Ontario have shared the news about CERA’s new resources for community workers, to help support clients with chemical and environmental sensitivities in rental housing:

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Safe Housing Survey

Do you (or will you) need safe housing?

Until the end of November 2019, Health Risk Navigation Inc. (HRNI) is conducting a much needed (yet simple) survey of the housing needs of the chemically injured in order to have quantitative data to show housing providers, communities, policy, and decision makers, funders, and other relevant parties.

This kind of data doesn’t exist currently, so even though safe housing is our core need, there are no official documents that anyone can easily point to.

More details are available on their FAQ page:
https://www.hrni.ca/Housing-Survey-FAQ.php

Some of you may have already done the 1st edition of this survey in June of 2019, when it originally came out. Thank you! Even though the survey now has a different format, those responses are not lost.

You don’t have to do the revised one, but it would be helpful if you could spend the 10-15 minutes to do so… just mention that you completed the original on the last page where people are asked to share any additional comments.

The questions of the initial survey and the current survey are identical, except that the current survey now has four new questions at the beginning  that seek  consent of the respondents to save and share info (largely due to EU privacy laws).

Every question also gives an explanation as to why the data is requested. Additionally, every question (except the consent questions) now gives us the choice to answer “Prefer Not To Say”.

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Petitions! Fragrance-free Health Care in the U.S. & Safe Housing in B.C.

Two new petitions have been brought to my attention. Both of them are on change.org.
Please sign and share if you are able:

 

Make all health care facilities and services “fragrance free.”

https://www.change.org/p/us-department-of-health-and-human-services-make-all-health-care-facilities-and-services-fragrance-free

…”Please ask the secretary of HHS to provide leadership on addressing this issue and require all health care facilities and service providers to be scent free.”…

 

and

 

Stop the Human Rights Violations of Disabled British Columbians.

https://www.change.org/p/dear-bc-provincial-gov-t-and-vancouver-municipal-gov-t-leaders-stop-the-human-rights-violations-of-disabled-british-columbians

…”Health supporting housing is needed for low income British Columbians living with MCS. Currently there is no safe, affordable housing in BC for people with this chronic illness. In fact, the housing that is available is making people with MCS more ill by exposing them to off gassing building materials, strong chemicals used in building maintenance, laundry venting, cigarette smoke, and toxicant containing household and body products used by fellow renters.” …

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Your Very Own Neighbourhood Chemical Distribution Device

Did you know?

If you use conventional laundry products, you might not knowingly be feeling the effects now, but you more than likely have some neighbours who do!

Dryer vents are undisclosed, unregulated chemical distribution devices.

When you choose your laundry products,
you choose what your neighbours have to breathe!

Please think about your neighbours and choose non-toxic & fragrance-free products, so that your neighbours do not become ill or disabled
and can enjoy their homes and properties too!

A growing number of people (millions, not handfuls) cannot enjoy walking about their neighbourhoods, sitting or working in their own outdoor spaces, or even open the windows of their homes due to the harmful pollutants released from dryer vents that were designed to emit moisture, not drifting toxic chemicals.

Laundry products should not be disabling people or cause short term adverse health effects like asthma, headaches, migraines, confusion, vomiting, dizziness, etc., or longer term effects like reproductive and neurodevelopmental problems!

EWG has a website where you can check the ratings for the products you use. It’s a great place to start learning which products to avoid, and which are safer options.

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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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Endangered Human Art Project: Bringing Awareness to Chemical Sensitivity

WHO Says We Need Fresh Air?!

Guest Post from Marie LeBlanc

Bringing awareness to chemical sensitivity
Marie LeBlanc at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg. May 12th 2017.

I am an artist  in Winnipeg who lives with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and environmental illness caused by mold exposure. My art has been in relation to multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS)/Environmental Illness (EI) and toxic environments.

“WHO says we need fresh air?!” is a series of quotes from sufferers of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Environmental Illness, Mold Exposure, Electrohypersensitivity Syndrome, Lyme Disease and other conditions related to Chronic/Complex Immunological Neurological Diseases.

The art installation was on display during the evening of Fri. May 12, on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)/Environmental Sensitivities Awareness Day,  outside the Centennial Concert Hall (with a few quotes displayed on the indoor screens), and is dedicated to my friend Eliana from Mexico.

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An MCS Awareness Visualization

May 12th is International MCS Awareness Day, and May is MCS Awareness Month.  Many people who have MCS also have  MCAS – Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, where chemical and other exposures cause anaphylaxis.

Guest Post from Raven

My request for you to visualize:

I’d like to ask each of my friends to sit in a quiet space for just 15 minutes and close your eyes. Breathe and get calm and relaxed.

Now I want you to think of yourself only. Visualize yourself in your body. Once you see or feel you, I want you to see yourself  Continue reading