Is there a housing safety net for a severely disabled person in Canada?
June 12, 2014 7:00 PM   Subscribe

A 69 yr old wheelchair bound man, in SK, Canada, may end up homeless in the very near future. I need to know our options so that he continues to be cared for. In short, all the other safety nets have had holes in them, and we are being threatened with eviction. He relies on me (caregiver/wife) to bathe him, dress him, attend to personal hygiene/bathroom needs. He cannot walk at all, can stand with help, has use of one arm/hand. Living on the streets isn't going to work. Where do I turn now? More details below the fold.

Relevant details: I am not a Canadian resident, though immigration is in process. Until I have permanent residency, he is considered a household of one, even though we live together, and this affects what assistance he gets (doesn't get). Two months ago, I lost my income from my country, and it cannot be restored. His monthly income is less than our monthly rent. Because of my lack of status, I cannot work. Additional income he is entitled to is in the works, but we were told today, won't be fully processed until Sept. Social assistance has been denied. Rental supplement is being applied for, will take months. Many of these things were originally applied for in February, but the first social services worker (who is no longer employed) dropped the ball on it and gave misinformation.

We have been canvassing family and agencies for help, but are still a half month rent away from paying June, and have already received a pre-eviction notice. The apt we live in is cheap for the city we live in; and we would prefer to stay here as it was hard to find one affordable to us that could accomodate his manual and power wheelchair and other mobility/care aids. Any suggestions for help we might not have sought is welcome.

Bottom line, I need to know that if we are evicted, can I have an ambulance take him to a hospital, (we have no transportation) and will they then be forced to make sure he is cared for (i.e. won't put him on the street)? I can manage somehow, even though I am ill and disabled, I am mobile. I am just concerned about how to make sure he has the care he needs. So far, whatever can go wrong has, so a couple of viable suggestions for his care would be appreciated. Thank you so much mefites.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Is SK Saskatchewan or Saskatoon? I found this (pdf), which makes me think that the United Way may be doing work in your area for a "housing first" policy. There seem to be a bunch of community organizations linked here. You might also want to try one of these pro bono legal clinics for housing attorney help.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:33 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Judging by the tags SK = Saskatchewan.
posted by alms at 8:21 PM on June 12, 2014

Call the constituency offices for you MP and MLA, and the mayor's office, and tell them a 69 year old man is about to get evicted with nowhere to go.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 9:25 PM on June 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

Also email the local paper's human interest reporters. Our local paper writes up stories like this and government agencies tend to speed up assistance with more publicity and pressure.

The CBC is also a good place to get wider publicity. Email them at and let them know a 69 year old man with disabilities has been denied assistance and is about to be homeless.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:39 PM on June 12, 2014 [7 favorites]

Try you will need to verify with the mods. Also try Saskatchewan and Saskatoon sub reddits.
posted by Mistress at 1:00 AM on June 13, 2014

Contact a local tenant's rights organisation to find out what you can do to stave off the eviction. You said the money is coming in Sept? That is only three months rent away. Have you talked to the landlord and shown them you have applied and are expecting full payment in Sept? They may not know why you haven't paid your rent.
posted by saucysault at 7:11 AM on June 13, 2014

/r/assistance requires an active account at least 90 days old for financial requests (I am a voyeur there and the outcomes are not always great, if anything at all), but /r/loans can work well (I have micro-loan-sharked with good outcomes, but, again, a new account won't work). I would try the local-to-you Reddit groups though, both for referrals to resources, possible reporter interest, and the chance that somebody wants to rent part of their house out on generous terms.

If you have any spare time at all, which I realise is unlikely in a situation like this, /r/flipping could be a good thing to browse; there is a lot of good advice on buying stuff cheaply (very cheaply, in many cases) at thrifts and garage sales and so on, and re-selling it profitably (very profitably, in some cases). If you are knowledgeable about any particular specialised sort of consumer goods this is a sort of work you can do under the radar to generate at least some cash flow.

The advice about contacting news outlets and politicians is excellent. If you have transportation, start just showing up in offices, with your best cheerful "I look forward to leaving this office when I have received help. Until then, I'm settling in..." demeanour.
posted by kmennie at 8:06 AM on June 13, 2014

So sorry this is happening. You can try communicating with the landlord although that will be hard to convince them to wait several months for money. Can you take in a subletter to get this month's rent covered?

You will not be put into the street if things are similar to Ontario. You will be put into emergency housing, and maybe even bumped up the list because of the disability. If you refuse to vacate the unit on the day of eviction a sheriff will show up to do it and I believe they are trained in situations like this and would be able to arrange an ambulance or other suitable vehicle. If things progress that far it may not hurt to try to get in touch with them beforehand.
posted by lafemma at 8:20 AM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

You should Tweet Brad Wall, or post a message on his FB page. Very accessible guy.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:29 AM on June 13, 2014

Start contacting shelters and letting them know you may need their services in the coming weeks and trying to have a plan in place whereby you can go straight from home to shelter if need be. Go to your local legal aid clinic and ask to speak to someone about housing and having them negotiate with your landlord. Ask them how long it takes to go from pre-eviction to actual eviction - I know in Ontario it can take weeks/months. Good luck in this difficult situation.
posted by hepta at 9:21 AM on June 13, 2014

I was also going to suggest CBC. We have seen a lot of similar cases making the local news here in NL and the resulting piublic outcry seems to accelerate the bureaucratic processes.

And yes, definitely contact the members for your area. Good luck.
posted by futureisunwritten at 10:58 AM on June 13, 2014

Since you are serving as a caregiver, I would also look into the Canadian Caregiver Coalition to see what resources they can direct you to. Their website is:
posted by JerseyBear at 12:12 PM on June 13, 2014

When you say that social assistance has been denied, do you mean welfare or disability? I honestly cannot think of any reason why a man in this situation would be denied either.

In Ontario (and I imagine SK is the same) there is a process for appealing such decisions. Start availing yourself of this process. Find out who your equivalent of (provincial) Minister of Social Services is, and start calling their office. Your MPP and MP as well, for sure. Magic words: "Do I need to call the CBC to get action on this or can we somehow work together to prevent a 69 year old man in extremely poor health from becoming homeless?"

Having done it a couple times myself, threatening politicians with the CBC (or similar large news outlets; CTV would be another good choice, as well as your local papers) tends to get action moving at a very rapid pace.

I have a very close friend who lives in Regina and may have other options. I'm going to show him this thread and see what he has to say about where to go and what to do.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:41 PM on June 13, 2014

I just caught the 69 year old part.

When you say "income", you mean he is getting all three programmes he is eligible for, right? So, OAS, CPP, and GIS? At a MINIMUM he should be getting $1,300/month (more if he has ever worked and is eligible for CPP). When you hit 65 you generally "age out" of the regular social service programmes into the more stable ones aimed at older Canadians (and at a higher monthly income than regular welfare - that is why he can't get the low-income SAD or SAID).

With OAS, CPP, and GIS there wouldn't be an increase in his income once you get your PR status but it appears you expect it to. You know you aren't eligible for the $1,050/month Allowance once you get PR status unless there is a social security agreement between Canada and your other country, right? If your current rent is above $1,300, then you may need to look at moving somewhere else, average rent in Saskatoon is less than $1,000 for a one bedroom.

Since you can't work in Canada, can you get any kind of employment or help from your previous country like a pension?
posted by saucysault at 5:06 AM on June 14, 2014

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