A Victoria couple is pleading with BC Housing to allow them to remove carpet from apartments that are available to them so they can navigate around with ease.
Sandra Hough, along with her husband, David, both use mobility devices full-time. Their BC Housing unit along Fort Street in Victoria has uneven carpet, which makes it difficult for them to perform daily tasks, such as cooking and showering.
Not being able to find any other BC Housing units without carpet, she proposed to her building manager that she would pay out of pocket to remove the carpet and install a flooring more suitable for her and her husband.
Even though it wouldn’t cost BC Housing anything, their response to the request shocked Hough.
“Sorry, [BC Housing] won’t rip up the carpet. Your option is take it as it is or take the other one at the Dalmatian apartment [that also has carpet],” Sandra said, recounting the response.
Hough says although the Dalmatian has no carpet, there are accessibility issues on the outside of the building.
“It is inhumane to make people live like this,” she added.
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“I just hope to be able to get into a more suitable apartment because our needs have changed and it’s a struggle. Like, its hard to wait when you know that there actually are apartments available and you just can’t get into them,” added David.
David Willows, president of the It’s Your Right to Equal Access Society, is not surprised that the Hough family is struggling to improve their living situation with BC Housing.
“This sounds like the typical government bureaucratic response when it comes to accessibility,” he told CHEK News on Saturday.
“I am not surprised that there’s this pushback from BC Housing. It becomes a bureaucratic thing with what can we do, what do we want to do, what are our priorities right now, and to be honest, accessibility doesn’t seem to be a priority for this provincial government right now,” said Willows.
In a statement to CHEK News, B.C. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon said the ministry was looking into the issue.
“We know how important accessibility in housing is and we empathize with the challenge this family is facing,” he said. “Langham Terrace is owned and operated by Pacifica Housing Society, with operating funding from BC Housing. We are looking into the matter for a more fulsome understanding of the situation.”