POLITICS

Saskatoon mom with muscular dystrophy crawling on stairs; pleads for new housing

05/08/2013 04:11 EDT | Updated 07/08/2013 05:12 EDT
REGINA - A Saskatoon mother with muscular dystrophy who has to crawl up the stairs to her apartment because there is no elevator in the building says the province needs more housing for people with disabilities.

Trina Mackie lives in a second-floor apartment and struggles to get in and out.

"I get down on my hand and knees and I crawl up the stairs. And then I crawl into the apartment and then get to a place where I can get myself up into a standing or a sitting position, whatever comes first," said Mackie.

Mackie says she has to go down the stairs on her bum. The 29-year-old woman says she has fallen several times and suffered concussions.

"I would like to move as soon as possible," she said.

Mackie lives in the apartment with her eight-year-old son and her sister, who also has muscular dystrophy.

She says she hasn't been able to watch her son at his karate lessons in a year and she likes to watch him swim, but can't. Moving would change all that, she said.

"I wouldn't have to rely on somebody to get me in and out of the apartment," she said.

"I could go out and do things with my son, which I can't do right now. I could take him out and we could go for walks and we could go to the library and we do all this stuff and right now, I can't do that."

Mackie says she was initially placed on a five-year wait list for housing and then was bumped up to a priority list, but it's not clear when she'll get a new place to live.

The Opposition NDP raised the issue in the legislature, saying the province needs more accessible housing.

Social Services Minister June Draude said Wednesday that she felt "terrible" when she read about Mackie crawling on the stairs and falling.

"She's been in one of the social housing units for a number of years and when she did go in, the needs that she had at that time were (met) by the housing unit that she had and her needs have increased over the years," said Draude.

The minister said housing officials are trying to get Mackie into a more accessible home.

"I don't know what the timeframe is, it could be a couple of months, it could be a few more months," said Draude.

"But I do know that when we have people with disabilities in the type of situation that Trina's in right now, then everyone is aware of it and acknowledging it and saying, 'What else can we do for these individuals?"

Draude also said planned to call Mackie on Wednesday to find out what other supports she needs in the meantime.