"Arthritis suffering mum forced to carry wheelchair bound child" - The Mercury


A Bridgewater mum suffering with arthritis has described how she’s been forced to carry her wheelchair bound daughter up and down the front steps of their home every day, while they wait to be provided a wheelchair accessible public housing home.

Kristi Deakin said she and her daughter Alexis have been waiting for a wheelchair friendly home since she was 2 years old.

Young Alexis is now 6.

“She has spinal muscular atrophy, it’s a muscle wasting disease therefore she is wheelchair bound,” Ms Deakin said.

“We can’t the wheelchair inside, it’s 130 kilograms so trying to bring it up the stairs is not going to happen.”

“They’ve told me we’re priority but we’ve been on the list three, maybe four years.

Ms Deakin said the department was well aware of her daughter’s condition.

“I took in a report from the physiotherapist stating the house isn’t appropriate and stating what we will need is a disability shower and full wheelchair accessibility house,” Ms Deakin said.

“I had at least five supporting letters from different medical professionals.

The mother of two said she feared she would be unable to continue carrying her daughter as she gets older.

“I took in doctors reports for myself, I have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis,” Ms Deakin said.

“She’s getting heavier and I’m getting weaker, it’s not ideal.

“I need to minimise the manual handling of her.

“I told them carrying of her up and down the stairs isn’t safe for mine or her health.”

Ms Deakin said they had been offered one house, but it was not suitable.

“I had to reject because it was across the road from my ex in-laws

“Housing said it was a reasonable reason to reject it but I haven’t heard anything since.”

Ms Deakin said she’d broadened the list of areas she was willing to move into.

Federal Labor Lyons MP Brian Mitchell said he’d been advocating for Ms Deakin but there had been no progress.

“I have written the Housing Minister directly on Ms Deakins’ behalf and am yet to receive a substantive reply,” Mr Mitchell said.

“It takes a rare kind of callousness to disregard a mother in distress, especially one who is doing her best under difficult circumstances.

“I hope the Minister gives serious consideration to this matter.”

A Government spokesperson said it was increasing the supply of disability specific housing.

“We appreciate the challenging circumstances of this case and have assessed the application accordingly as a priority one,” they said.

"While we continue to build more homes for people with disability, there is a limited supply of large, specialist disability properties, which only become available when the current tenants no longer require them.”