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Double amputee Ava Thomas faces homelessness

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 22 April 2016 - 02:55 PM

Good on this lady for getting out and about and working.

Others should take a leaf out of her book and do the same.

Finding appropriate housing when one has injuries and are differently enabled is a very challenging thing to go through.

May this woman's situation make all builders, architects and town planners stop and consider what it is like for those in similar situations.

Auckland Council and it's proposed Unitary Plan has no consideration for those who may be in similar such situations.

Double amputee Ava Thomas faces homelessness video


Last updated 11:00, April 21 2016


Double amputee Ava Thomas has lost a lot in her life - her parents, her brother, both her sisters and now her home.

Thomas must leave her rental of six years by May 12, when new owners take over. She has hunted for a new home for six months, but there is nothing available in her price bracket.

While rents in the Christchurch housing market are cooling, those in the lower price brackets are not.
Ava Thomas, a double-amputee, is struggling to find accommodation after her flat is sold.

Ava Thomas, a double-amputee, is struggling to find accommodation after her flat is sold.

"What is there out there for people like me? I don't sit at home and feel sorry for myself and put my hand out, I'm not destitute. But I can't afford the rents," Thomas said.

"All I want to do is take my wheelchair and wheel as far as I can and not come back."

Thomas suffers from three different conditions; clotting of the veins, arteries and small vessel syndrome. She first began experiencing symptoms two decades ago, when she was 42.

Her left leg was amputated first. There was a lot of pain, and then her toes turned black.

"Initially they took my toes off and then I insisted they remove the whole leg, I was in so much pain.

"I was on 440 milligrams of morphine a day for two months, that's enough to kill a horse."

An initial diagnosis of sciatic nerve pain from her doctor led to a successful ACC claim for medical misadventure.

Over the next eight months, Thomas would have nine operations.

She had just been discharged from hospital with a gastro virus when her right leg suddenly went numb.

"I couldn't feel my right leg from the knee down and I was like 'I know what this is'."

Within 24 hours of being readmitted to hospital, Thomas' right leg was removed. Three days later, a blood clot was discovered on her brain, and months later she suffered a pulmonary embolism.

"That was all pretty horrendous," she said.

"Since the earthquakes I have had PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). It was the trauma, but it also brought up everything else with my medical problems and losing my family."

Thomas's parents died within four months of each other. Herbrother died in 1969, and both her sisters had died in the last decade.

Thomas was discharged from hospital last month, after having her fibula removed to better fit her prosthetics, in utter despair.

She has looked at between 50 and 80 houses and cannot find anything affordable that will accommodate her wheelchair.

Thomas gets about $620 a week, between ACC payments and the five or so hours a week she works.
The payments put her over the threshold for a Housing New Zealand house.

She pays $290 a week in rent and has no savings "except for $2.33".

Thomas has volunteered for many organisations, including in the disability sector and does not like asking for help.

"I feel so embarrassed and terrible, I've never asked for help. I said to a friend on the phone last night I'm about to check myself in to Hillmorton. I can't handle the stress anymore, I'll live anywhere."

According to March Trade Me data, Christchurch rents were down 6.7 per cent compared to March 2015. However, the demand for units increased 1.5 per cent since last year.

Harcourts Accommodation Centre owner Patricia Bowden said there was a "supply and demand" issue for affordable housing.

She only had one unit available for under $300.

"People are coming in to Christchurch to find work needing the cheaper rents and anything we advertise there will be people queueing up to see it."

Bowden said a higher number of people losing their jobs had increased demand for affordable housing.

- Stuff

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