Friday, July 19, 2024

Ottawa man using walker says apartment not accessible, with no answer in sight

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An Ottawa man living in the city’s south-end says he’s struggling to get his walker through the front door of his apartment and wants the building’s owner to install an automatic door button.

For the past four years, David Humphries has living in an apartment building owned by Minto. He has limited mobility and started using a walker a little more than a year ago.

“The doors of the building are really heavy and it’s really hard because I have to use my knee to push the walker out and it’s just very difficult,” said Humphries.

He met with the building’s owner to see about installing an automatic door button and was told they were looking into it – in October.

“When I didn’t need my walker I was fine,” Humphries said.

“But now that the doctors and specialists and my social workers who support me said it’s better to use the walker, I try to, but I can’t maneuver it through the front door.”

In the meantime, Humphries says he was offered a 12th floor unit in another building but he has concerns over his safety.

“What would I do if there was a power outage or the elevator broke?” he said. “I’d be screwed, so I said no because my safety is a top priority to me.”

An e-mail was sent by the city to the property manager on Humphries’ behalf “reminding them that there is a duty to accommodate under the Ontario Human Rights Code,” and cited safety concerns and risk of injury.

Minto tells CTV News it can’t discuss specific tenant issues due to privacy reasons.

“There are laws governing accessibility requirements for rental housing providers and we comply with all of them. We make every effort to get a resident with mobility issues into an appropriate suite at the outset of their lease and if their needs change over time then we provide other options including relocating to another suite in the building or to another property in the area that better meets their needs,” Minto said in an emailed statement.

By next year, all multi-unit residential buildings must have fully accessible entrances under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

Humphries says he’s tired of waiting.

“I can’t do it anymore,” he said.

“I’m tired of not being heard and that’s what happens to a lot of people with disabilities when these types of issues happen. They step back and don’t say anything because they’re scared of getting reprimanded.”

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