Homelessness Looms for Disabled Sault Ste. Marie Woman

42

“He has now put a person that could otherwise live in community, in a position where she must go in a nursing home. Housing has managed this so poorly that they have now left a forty-seven year old woman who is disabled with nowhere to turn and not the opportunity- which is her right, to live in community and as independently as possible.”

The comment, delivered with fervor, comes from Lynn Leclair, regarding the decision ultimately approved by Mike Nadeau, Commissioner of Social Housing, to proceed with the eviction of her niece, Valerie Belsito, from a rent geared to income unit (RGI) provided through Social Housing as managed by the District of Sault Ste. Marie’s Social Service Board (DSSAB).

Valerie Belsito, who is wheelchair bound due to symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis, has until April 14th to find accessible and affordable housing in Sault Ste. Marie- and so far that seems nowhere to be found. Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system which is composed of the brain and spinal cord.

Valerie has lived in the same RGI unit for sixteen years. Over time, as her physical condition has deteriorated, the unit was retrofitted to accommodate her needs. Her home, for however long it remains that, is completely accessible.

Valerie receives an hour and a half of homecare each morning and half an hour of homecare each evening. Personal support workers assist Valerie with personal care needs and daily exercises. Her twenty-one year old daughter lives with her and has been acknowledged by Valerie’s family doctor as her mother’s primary caregiver. Her daughter ensures that her mother’s meals are prepared and assists with pressing daily needs as they occur. At one point, Valerie’s son, who is also listed as a primary caregiver, was living with her for a period of time. However, he goes to his mother’s home throughout the week to assist her to bed later in the evening.

“If he didn’t,” remarked Valerie. “I’d be in bed between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.”

Having her daughter and son declared as her primary caregiver was significant in that it allowed Valerie to retain her full disability pension- about $1090 per month, regardless of her children’s income- should they generate one.

However, what is affected by her children’s income, if they live with her, is the monthly rent amount in her RGI home. Valerie was not aware that when her son began working at some point in 2013, that she was required to claim his income each month.

“Their income doesn’t affect my disability pension. I just thought that would also apply to my housing. I’m in geared to income housing because of my disability,” explained Valerie.

Among reporting obligations as per the DSSAB website, those receiving an RGI subsidy must report income changes within thirty days of any increase or decrease in monthly income. Rent in RGI agreements, are adjusted to accommodate the needs of people who experience fixed income, low-income and inconsistent income, thereby providing access to decent and affordable housing.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND INFO (Warning: Moderate Level of Difficulty. Brace Yourself)

Eviction NoticeWhen Valerie signed her lease renewal in 2014 and provided information about her son’s employment she was taken aback to learn that not only was she expected to have been reporting his earnings all along but now she would be responsible for settling the back dated arrears.

The challenge in producing several thousand dollars that was owing in arrears while on a fixed income was further exacerbated when her daughter was also asked to procure receipts for a cash paid position she acquired in 2014 and additional back dated arrears were accumulated. By this time Valerie’s son had moved out. Valerie’s rent was adjusted to reflect her $105 contribution as well as her daughter’s portion of rent based on her earnings which brought the monthly rent up to $511.

Documents show that on June 1st 2014, Valerie was $169.94 in arrears to Social Housing. Adjustments to her rent ($511 per month) for June and July 2014 and then an increase to full market rent to the tune of $1200 per month in August 2014 put her $1670.95 in arrears. By November 1st, 2014 she was $5165.95 in arrears.

During the fall of 2014 Valerie was advised that she must pay the arrears owing or SSM Housing would pursue an order for eviction before the Landlord and Tenant Board on November 13th, 2014. They also outlined a list of conditions that should be met before that date

On November 13th, 2014 the Landlord and Tenant Board gave consent for Valerie’s eviction effective November 30th, 2014. The order states that, “If the unit is not vacated on or before November 30th, 2014, then starting December 1st 2014, the Landlord may file this order with the Court Enforcement Office (Sheriff) so that the eviction may be enforced.”

Valerie’s eviction is final. She has no further recourse on the matter.

According to the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S. O. 2006, c.17, 81., “An order of the Board evicting a person from a rental unit expires six months after the day on which the order takes effect if it is not filed within those six months with the sheriff who has territorial jurisdiction where the rental unit is located.”

This means that SSM Housing could have chosen to put in motion her final notice of eviction as early as December 1st, 2014 or as late as May 31st, 2015.

On March 31st, 2015 Valerie received her hand delivered eviction notice with orders to leave the premise by April 14th, 2015. At that time she also received in invoice in the amount of $325.13 due to pay for the delivery of the eviction notice. According to the Landlord and Tenant Board, if Valerie does not vacate the unit by that time, a Sheriff will escort her off the property. Valerie will have 72 hours to remove her belongings from the premise before Housing changes the locks on the house.

appeal of arrearsOn April 1st, 2015 Valerie received a notice from the Client Service Co-ordinator with SSM Social Housing and Application Centre formally letting her know that she was ineligible for RGI Housing due to an arrears of $9,766.08.

Valerie can request an internal review of the decision relating to the arrears owing but must do so by April 14, 2015.

An outstanding arrears would place Valerie in the precarious position of being sentenced to hospital or a nursing home if, and more likely when, she requires social housing again.

Valerie will simply never have the ability to cover almost $10, 000 dollars in back rent.

“Given the circumstances and the nine grand owing, she will never ever be able to go back to social housing. So she is deemed to a healthcare system that is less than adequate,” remarked Lynn. “She has nowhere to turn to because of the unprofessional and poor management of Sault Ste. Marie’s Housing services. It’s a disgrace.”

*Though several attempts were made to speak with representatives from SSM Housing on the matter of Valerie’s situation, as well as on the separate matter of the availability of accessible and affordable housing in Sault Ste. Marie, all requests were deferred or denied. Mike Nadeau declined to comment on Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 to the request of a phone interview regarding either matter.

*On Thursday April 2nd, 2015 he also declined to comment to a written request for an interview about local housing issues stating in his email, “As advised during our telephone conversation yesterday, due to the understood nature and context of your inquiry, the Department of Social Services is not able to provide comment at this time.”

*A request for comment regarding issues pertaining to local housing from various DSSAB Board members was also declined or went unanswered.

“I feel so sick. I don’t even know what to do. I can’t just go anywhere. There isn’t any accessible housing in Sault Ste. Marie,” worried Valerie.

Valerie has spent several days looking for accessible housing offered through non-profit organizations such as the Knights of Columbus but as expected the waiting lists for such units are in excess of two years.

Willing to give up safety as well as accessibility Valerie has explored mainstream housing options to find the physical barriers overwhelming.

“Sometimes I can make it into the unit but there are often stairs that lead to the bedroom and bathroom or I just can’t maneuver my electric wheelchair around. The guy at Housing asked me why I just didn’t go and live with my family,” shared Valerie. “Well, the first challenge is that their housing isn’t accessible and I don’t want to upset their routines. I have girls coming in and out twice a day to help me with personal care. And I want to live independently too.”

Valerie expressed that she feels a lot of guilt about the situation and how it is affecting her son and daughter.

“The kids are so worried. I feel like I put this cloud over their head. I just feel like a piece of garbage.”

THE REALITY OF ACCESSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN SAULT STE. MARIE

Time is running out for Valerie and she isn’t the only one that is worried about her looming situation of homelessness.

Gary Vipond, Executive Director of the United Way of Sault Ste. Marie, is very aware of Valerie’s situation. Avoiding the ‘specifics’ of the case Gary expressed his concern for Valerie and also shared the United Way’s theories about the prevention of homelessness.

“Our goal is to do whatever we can to try to help people retain their housing because there is so little housing availability out there,” Vipond remarked. We don’t want to see people leaving where they live unless it isn’t safe to remain where they are. If you have housing that is suitable we have a better chance of keeping someone in that house than we do of finding them another place to live.”

This common sense philosophy is given notable attention throughout a report entitled Sault Ste. Marie Housing and Homelessness Plan Update. The report was completed by OrgCode Consulting Inc. but was an augmentation of the draft report entitled 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan completed by DSSAB in 2013.

The Sault Ste. Marie Housing and Homelessness Plan Update stresses the ‘Housing First’ approach which according to the report, simply means that “housing is the only solution to homelessness” (p.39). The report goes on to say that “implementing a Housing First approach and developing a cohesive system of support for people who are homeless or at risk that aims to help them return to and remain in housing requires a number of changes in practice and tools”.

Among the very lengthy list of recommendations is a strategic direction to ‘Foster the Development of an Integrated System of Housing and Homelessness Services’. An objective of this goal is that “all homelessness services and staff and ancillary service staff participate in joint professional development to ensure alignment with best practices” and to that end that an action item be struck to “develop a shared professional development plan among the housing and homelessness service providers focused on implementing the principles of Housing First” (pp. 48- 49).

While the above report is a dense 64 pages, the document makes very little reference to the issue of accessibility and housing. Throughout the report there is occasional reference to the Sault’s aging population and therefore the eventual need for increased accessible housing, however, the sense of urgency of the need now is lost. Ironically, that urgency was captured in the 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan draft report.

Of most significance in the 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan are the findings identified through consultations with myriad stakeholders as well as survey results. Notably that “there is an immediate need to offer accessible and/or supportive housing in the community” and among the two top priorities for improving access to affordable housing include the urgency to “provide supports to allow people with barriers remain housed –mental health, addictions, accessibility etc.” (p.9).

The above draft report, facilitated by DSSAB, reinforces that taking down the challenges and barriers in keeping people housed requires that ‘Housing First’ model. “A Housing First approach is paramount in reducing the costs of housing people in long-term care facilities, emergency shelters, our health care system and correctional services” (p.16).

So what is the cost of housing someone in a hospital bed for one month?

Stats vary but according to the Lookout Society on average in Canada one hospital bed for the period of one month costs $10, 900. That stat can also be found in a report entitled the Real Cost of Homelessness published by the Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press. According to Home Care Ontario the average cost per hospital bed per day works out to $842 per day or $25, 260 per month in Ontario.

costofhomelessness

Source: Homeless Hub (http://homelesshub.ca/ResourceFiles/costofhomelessness_paper21092012.pdf)

 

According to Diane Morrell, Regional Services Coordinator for Sault Ste. Mare and Algoma Area with Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, wait times in the Sault for accessible housing can range from 2 to 5 years.

With the challenge of wait times for accessible housing in the Sault and the depressing reality that Valerie could end up in hospital care, and using the lowest hospital bed figure, the government may have to fork out anywhere from $261,600 to $654,000 before an accessible home becomes available for Valerie.

It is worth recalling at this point that an arrears of $9,776.08 owing to Social Housing will be impossible for Valerie to pay on a fixed income. Social Housing can deem her ineligible for services while an outstanding debt remains on the record. In essence Valerie isn’t just being evicted from her accessible home, she’s also being kicked out of Social Housing.

Of the accessible housing situation in Sault Ste. Marie Morrell commented, “Sault Ste. Marie is not isolated in the challenges regarding accessible and affordable housing. It is a challenge across the province. The wait lists for rent geared to income accessible housing aren’t really long but people who get one of these units don’t leave once they get one. The wait lists may only be two or three people long but those people are waiting for years for an accessible apartment. Once somebody gets into an accessible apartment they don’t leave unless they get into a nursing home or if they pass away. The crisis in accessible house is not the number of people on the list but rather the wait times for an accessible place to live.”

Steve Burgess is a Community Liaison Worker with the United Way of Sault Ste. Marie and has been working with Valerie to find a solution in this mess.

“As far as finding accessible housing goes- it’s a nightmare for everybody. And then trying to find accessible housing that is affordable is a double nightmare. Anybody who is in that situation can expect that it is going to be very difficult. Especially if it’s a situation where they are trying to find housing on short notice. Valerie is facing homelessness. There is no question about it.”

Burgess also cautions about laying blame.

“These situations are always very complicated,” he said.

“What’s happening to Valerie isn’t just an isolated incident,” Burgess added. “I get a number of these kinds of situations that come to me whether it’s mobility because of age or illness or something else. It’s something that could affect all of us at any moment. And then everything changes.”

At this point, short of DSSAB issuing a last minute stay of execution what, if anything, can happen to save Valerie from what seems to be the inevitability of homelessness?

According to Vipond, in the past a coordinated effort among community services has made a difference in housing for people facing barriers.

“The solutions are there when people come together. We’ve had situations where so many organization came together to help people be accommodated. And I think that sometimes that’s what needs to happen. When a particular individual is left in an unfortunate circumstance sometimes it is multiple organizations that have to come together because the solutions can be quite complex.”

As for transitional housing to hold Valerie over, that doesn’t seem to be an option. In her professional role, Morrell operates as a system navigator, helping people solve disability related challenges.

“As far as I’m aware there are no accessible transitional or temporary housing options in Sault Ste. Marie. It’s not something that’s on the radar because I think Housing has their hands pretty full with ambulatory people and trying to get them housed.”

Aside from occupying a bed in hospital Morrell is unsure what will happen to Valerie when the clock runs out of seconds on April 14th.

“I don’t know what is going to happen to her. I’m very concerned. I can’t believe that in Sault Ste. Marie we would willfully make someone with a disability homeless. It’s one of the toughest situations ever to try to find accessible housing. And nothing else matters if you haven’t got a place to live.”

owl_feather

Share.

Editor’s Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of the Northern Hoot, but only of the comment writer. Personal attacks, offensive language and unsubstantiated allegations are not allowed. Please keep comments on topic. For more information on our commenting policies, please see our Terms of Use. If you see a typo or error on our site, report it to us. Please include a link to the story where you spotted the error.

  • woa .. this is horrible. Keeping Valerie in my thoughts and prayers… at this moment, i can’t think of anything else to offer. …. Support for people with disabilities should be a priority.

  • bek

    That’s terrible. Poor her. Hope something or someone helps. Not sure about any other options. All we can do is pray that there is. For her sake. Geeez.

  • Kelly Pettit

    Keep fighting Valerie. I know how much you love your home and your independence. Advocate for yourself and keep getting people to help you. You don’t belong in hospital or a nursing home. And with nowhere to go, nobody can make you leave your home. They are not going to hand you a cardboard box and say ‘here you go’. Keep strong.

  • MaryAnn Williams

    Why doesn’t someone set up a GoFundMe account for Valerie. Surely it wouldn’t take too long to get the arrears paid

  • Tadaaaaaaaaa

    that’s life….disabled or not, we all have to check the facts and abide by the law. there are a LOT of people that use family as “caregivers which may not be the truth, I can see why the government wants to crack down on it.

  • Mark Andrew Brown

    The first, and most urgent, goal is to keep you where you are Valerie.

    Don’t leave your current home, Valerie, no matter what you do, but make sure you pay the $511 dollars a month for rent, and offer to pay, say, $200 a month towards the long term retirement of your debt. That will leave you only about $350 for everything else, but that should hopefully be enough.

    Make these offers PUBLICLY Valerie so that everyone knows you are willing to pay your way according to your income and situation.

    It makes absolutely no sense to evict you to become homeless so that some other homeless, accessibility-challenged person can be put into your home. There are quite literally no gains made there. It is simply shuffling the deck.

    Don’t budge kiddo, and shout those offers mentioned above from the rooftops!!

    And let me know what else I can do to help.

    Sincerely,
    Mark Brown

  • Mark Andrew Brown

    P.S. Social Services will not be able to help another accessibility-challenged person until they can get accessible housing stock, but they can take your $511 Valerie and use it towards subsidizing another GTI person, and moving them from homelessness to a home.

    Sit tight Valerie, and don’t let them evict you without them having to arrest you. You’re fighting for your life here kiddo, and at least jail is accessible.

    Sincerely,
    Mark Brown

  • Snowgirl

    Let’s hope one of your loved ones doesn’t end up in this situation…she felt she did abide by the law. And she ISN’T one of the low life’s that lie about her disability. She’s been confined to a wheelchair for years!!! Maybe get YOUR facts straight before you ;make ignorant comment. I have a sneaky feeling you work for housing. Why else would a normal person with a heart make such a comment. Everyone else feels for her because they KNOW she’s a good person!! I’ll leave it at that otherwise my comment may be removed. Hope you sleep well at night.

  • Snowgirl

    Hi Mary…her family was going to help however, housing turned around and increased the arrears and also told us to hold off for a bit. then the deadline passed.

  • MaryAnn Williams

    That’s disgusting! Time to get an MPP involved in this!

  • Guest

    test

  • MarkT

    This is pretty awful and it sounds like this lady is being evicted because her kids didn’t pay rent. It’s not fair that the person who really needs the geared to income housing is being kicked out for not being able to pay her kids back rent. It’s probably pretty hard to shake your kids down for rent with an ultimatum when you’re depending on them for your physical and emotional well being. Housing should consider whether or not Valerie was a victim of financial abuse- the financial part being her RGI subsidy and her kids taking advantage of it. And now the system, the system being Housing, is also victimizing her. Just my two cents.

  • Amy Carson

    If I had the $10K, I’d pay it for her 🙁 This makes me sad.

  • Valerie-Ann Belsito

    I wasn’t going to comment but my kids never had a problem paying rent if housing would have come up with correct figures, & didn’t wait almost a year to give them an amount. All pay stubs handed in. When they finally agreed on an amount $2500 each then $9500 2 weeks later….we knew something wasn’t right. We didn’t do this alone, we had a lawyer, liaison and an advocate as witnesses to their shenanigans. My kids had 90% of money to pay first amount but were told to hold onto it then 2 weeks later almost double the amount and an eviction notice . My kids have never taken advantage of me but help with groceries, helping me to bed, household duties — laundry, tidying up plus working. etc..I understand this is your opinion

  • Fedupwithhypocrisy

    This is discusting. Expecially when I know someone in subsidized housing who should even be there. She uses and abuses the system to her advantage.

    DOES ANYONE KNOW IF ARREARS ARE PAID, DOES THE EVICTION ORDER GET RECINDED?

  • Marie Hunter

    I have a friend who has had dealing with SSMHC, and they have been bullying her for years with regard to her geared to income rent. They recently did a review of her rent (4 years after she requested it) of their calculations and found THEY had been calculating it WRONG and they owe her a great deal of money, and are offering no interest!!!. They DID NOT do the review back to the beginning when she started questioning their methods, but only from the date she requested it in writing (after not telling her for years, that they can’t do a review unless she requests in writing….) to present. We are still fighting them regarding that…. Bascially SSMHC and the people who run it DO NOT CARE about the people who are in need of their service. They treat those who are vulnerable with great disrespect!! Valerie needs to bring in the Ombudsman on this issue. To EVICT a woman in a wheelchair for not paying a rent that may not even being owing (based on SSMHC history) is criminal!!!!

  • Taylor Boissoneau

    Your comment is fucking stupid ..

  • Taylor Boissoneau

    She isn’t being evicted because of her kids not paying rent .. Read… Damn never once did it say that her kids weren’t paying .

  • Tadaaaaaaaaa

    well, then I guess you’re a friend of hers or someone else that might be in her situation, I don’t think it’s heartless to say that people need to find out the facts…what’s wrong with that? there are many disabled people in the Sault not just her…and the majority of them follow the laws and the rules required to allow them to live in affordable housing, why should she be given special dispensation?? People that are using Ontario housing shouldn’t have their kids living there and claiming them as caregivers when they are clearing working elsewhere that’s hardly fair to the disabled people waiting to get housing is it?? Why should she be special, maybe someone below her on the list should get a chance to live there…however you are making my comment into something it was not, I don’t think my comment casts her as a person that isn’t ” a good person” she used the system she made mistakes and now she is paying the price..her kids should chip in and pay off her fine seeing as they were the ones to reap the benefit of living free….she can probably arrange to pay the organization back in small increments out of her monthly allowance, if she cant afford that then maybe the nursing home is the best place for her.

  • Snowgirl

    You sound like a disgusting heartless person that is probably the one responsible for her eviction. What makes you think someone confined to a wheelchair for years is simply “claiming” her kids are caregivers…for what purpose?? Her kids take care of her more than you would EVER know. Maybe because nobody would love you enough to do that for you. The home was modified to accommodate her needs. Why don’t YOU go live in a nursing home…or keep up the heartless behaviour and karma will bring a lesson to you so you can see first hand what it’s like to feel helpless AND homeless! And no, a nursing home isn’t the best place for her. Being with her family IS. Do you make $1,000 a month…get paid that once a month and are expected to pay bills with that, eat etc. and then pay back some b.s. amount they are claiming she owes. If she was trying to screw the system, she never would’ve said her kids worked. She didn’t make a mistake..the system did. AND THOSE ARE THE FACTS!! Why should they evict her only to have another disabled person move in? She needs it just as much as anyone else on the list, if not more. Sounds like housing discriminating against her. I find it interesting that SSM Housing sits on a committee to PREVENT homelessness and yet, they’re causing it. If you read the article, you will see that it costs the tax payers a whole lot more to put her in a hospital than to have her live in the house she’s in. She is a very intelligent person and has an education. She would love to work but she can’t…she’s disabled and can barely hold a pencil. How frustrating for her. I can tell you right now, she has a huge heart…bigger than yours, she cares about others before herself…unlike you….and I bet she is even more intelligent than you. I say that based partly on you’re accusing me of not knowing facts when you don’t know all the facts.

  • Snowgirl

    Keep up the comments if you like. It’s just showing what a dick you are. You’re the only one on here that is making such comments and you hide behind the screen…big tough guy.

  • Snowgirl
  • Snowgirl

    Even if the arrears are paid, they are still evicting her

  • Snowgirl

    They are still evicting her…even if the arrears is paid.

  • Snowgirl

    She’s being evicted because housing feels that any income the kids had should’ve been included in her rent calculation. Her kids care for her more than I have ever seen anyone care for a parent, AND they work. Her kids love her more than life itself and would never take advantage of her. So, not only is she going to be left homeless, so will her daughter.

  • Snowgirl

    it doesn’t matter at this point, they will still evict her if it’s paid.

  • Amy Carson

    Clearly you are just commenting on everyone else’s comment. BUT IF THE ARREARS WAS PAID OFF… SHE WOULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR HOUSING AGAIN! That’s why I said why I said, I stand by what I said and her unit would probably still be her’s as it’s been completely retrofitted for HER LIFE! Thank you, good day.

  • Snowgirl

    I am responding to the questions being asked. If the arrears were paid off she would qualify for housing subsidy however, she would be put back on the wait list. As stated in the story and as has been told to her, her eviction stands. She is being removed from the house she is presently in.

  • Amy Carson

    I didn’t ask a question. Move along.

  • Snowgirl

    My mistake…thought you were supportive…sorry I offended you and made you angry. I will “move along” now. Enjoy the day you deserve.

  • MarkT

    You know, you might think you’re doing this woman a favour by “attacking” everyone that makes a comment that you don’t like but actually it does just the opposite. If you really want to help this woman then do her a real favour and stop acting like a defensive and rude twit.

  • Taylor Boissoneau

    I’m also commenting on every negative and telling them to fuck off .. Get off your high horse bitch.. You don’t know the situation

  • northernhoot

    Please note our commenting guidelines above. With particular attention to this: “Personal attacks, offensive language and unsubstantiated allegations are not allowed. Please keep comments on topic.” Thanks everyone.

  • Taylor Boissoneau

    Instead of deleting my comments for being “rude” maybe you should delete the comments being rude and belittling valerie ..she didn’t share her story for people to discriminate her and leave rude comments about her kids when yous barely know the full story..

  • northernhoot

    Your comments were deleted because they contained profanity. ~ Steffanie Petroni

  • Taylor Boissoneau

    Oh I forgot that using the f word was wayyy worse than these people being rude and quote on quote a personal attack on the person it is written about

  • Mark Rennison

    A different approach may have landed a different response. Valerie was clearly in the wrong by not claiming her children on her rent subsidy. If in fact she had, the rent likely would have been paid and this situation averted. This mistake could have been made honestly or dishonestly – we will never really know. Having said that, this in no way justifies throwing a disabled woman out into the streets. It almost seems as if she has become a sacrificial lamb or a lesson to be taught. This is certainly not the right avenue to take. Take a peek into any social housing unit and I assure you, you will find some form of dishonesty. Whether it be not claiming that five hundred dollars that you won at the casino, wages earned under the table, housing a sibling/friend/relative while collecting some sort of money or a child who makes 20 dollars babysitting and it is not claimed. Social housing is a conundrum. You either don’t work and barely survive or do work and barely survive due to over inflated maximum rent. This doesn’t even begin to address how social problems are carried over onto the children who can’t get that job at McDonald’s without having to hand their paychecks over to their parents. The issues are many. Valerie clearly has a full blown, honest disability that renders her unable to work. It is very easy for unaffected law abiding citizens to pass judgement on the decisions she made having never spent a minute in her shoes. She has obviously done many things right in that her children are taking responsibility for their mother. This family should not be punished but rather commended for having morals and values. Does she owe the money – yes. Should she pay the money off in increments – yes. Was she offered this option – I certainly hope so but I just don’t know. Should she be evicted – absolutely not unless there was a refusal to own up to what had happened and a refusal to pay off the balance. Housing should issue a statement if this is the case. There is a GoFundMe account set up in Valerie’s name and this money should be used to pay off what she owes rather than what it was set up for. Valerie you have not been bullied, you made a mistake – like we all do. Congratulations to your children for not only loving their mother but taking care of her. That is something to be proud of. Can there not be a reasonable conclusion to this story?

  • RBShea67

    Without assessing blame or justifying the case for either side here, the fact remains that when someone is handed an escalating bill, month after month, some action must be taken to resolve the outstanding balance. If you sign a lease, and the terms are clear on it, the leaseholder will be held liable for the terms of the agreement, disabled or not. So, unless some negotiation takes place, some settlement is reached, irreversible damage is likely to occur. For an able-bodied person to find decent housing in the Sault is difficult. For a disabled person to find affordable housing on a disability pension, without the benefit of geared to income rent, will be virtually impossible. According to the documents presented above, this person has right up until April 14th to ask for a review. I would highly recommend that this option be exercised, in the hope that some agreement can be made, before an actual eviction takes place. There are waiting lists for nursing homes, and no guarantee that a hospital will even admit someone under these circumstances. This person is literally facing a life on the streets, unless both parties come to the table, and sincerely strive to find a way to avert this crisis.

  • Amy Carson

    I was, and in fact, still am being supportive. No one reported anger or offense but that must be just you reading too far into things and answering questions where there weren’t any.

  • Snowgirl

    Well, the caps indicate anger. I was just clarifying some comments and answering questions that others posted. I’m not sure why it upset you but, whatever. If we weren’t allowed to respond to people there wouldn’t be a reply option. If you’re not looking for any comments maybe just state that at the end of your statement. No response necessary. Thank you…enjoy your day.

  • Tadaaaaaaaaa

    I’m the only one?? lol take a look back honey it’s all YOU!

  • Tadaaaaaaaaa

    “told us”…there you go..youre one of them!! I knew it!