Steven and Disability Suitable Housing in the Regions

Case Study: Steven (name changed to protect identity)

In late 2023 Steven fell in his home breaking his femur and was immobile for 6 days, lying on the floor, until found. The experience was traumatising. He had 3 operations on his leg culminating in amputation at the knee. While in hospital he was also diagnosed with cancer. Steven now requires the use of a wheelchair to mobilise.

Steven is experiencing housing issues with his local shire council and their management staff who operate social housing for the district. This commenced following his hospitalisation. The Shire organised a clean of Steven’s unit while he was in hospital, which he verbally agreed to, believing it would be a “tidy up”, as the unit was being completely renovated and he was to move out by year’s end. Instead, a deep clean costing $1900 was done which Steven cannot afford to pay being on the aged pension. He has been trying to pay it off in $50 per fortnight instalments.

Steven experienced significant trauma relating to his physical health due to loss of mobility, a leg amputation and the cancer diagnosis. This caused feelings of extreme hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. Interactions with Shire staff have not been positive. Steven is now unable to communicate with staff as he feels he has a negative reputation with the Shire. After staff were unsupportive and behaved in an uncompassionate manner, demanding monies for cleaning and threatening to evict him, Steven engaged in some inappropriate communication.

Steven’s hospital allied health team, who have been very supportive, attempted to assist him with the Shire post discharge, however no outcomes eventuated.

Steven was relocated from his permanent unit when renovations began in early 2024. His Occupational Therapists recommended installing a level entry shower access and improving general accessibility for him, while renovations were being done. The Shire has not been willing to enter negotiations for making his residence suitable and any correspondence with regards to requesting a level entry shower appears to have added to their case for his eviction. Steven has no family in Australia and a limited support network. Advocacy WA is working with multiple agencies to support Steven and his case is ongoing. If you or anyone you know with a disability is experiencing similar problems please contact Advocacy WA for support.

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