The lack of accessible housing in the district has put Dryden resident and hopeful Kenora resident Casey Gould in a tough spot. The 24-year-old lives with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and has been in a wheelchair for over half of his life.

Gould has an offer for what he calls his ‘perfect job’ in Kenora as a graphic designer, but he may not be able to accept the position unless he finds suitable and accessible housing by November 1. Unfortunately, he has so far been unable to find a home that would fit his specific needs.

“I’ve spent quite a long time trying to find rentals or anything that is accessible. I know that there may need to be renovations, but trying to find a landlord that will let us change anything has been difficult. We just haven’t been able to find anything. There’s not much available.”

Gould says that many housing units that are available don’t have large enough doorways to accommodate his wheelchair, a roll-in shower, a ramp to get into the house, or the ability to install lifts in his bedroom. He noted that due to his muscular dystrophy, many of his arm movements are limited, which poses more challenges than the average wheelchair user.

There are accessible housing units available through the Kenora District Services Board, but the wait list is years-long. Henry Wall, the Chief Administrative Officer with the KDSB, agreed that the housing crisis makes it difficult for anyone to find housing in the region, let alone accessible housing.

“It’s even more difficult. Much of the housing that we own or fund was built a number of years ago. They were built without accessibility in mind. Accessible housing is even more difficult to come by in the region. It can be a very difficult situation for someone in that position to find any housing.”

Due to the severity of Gould’s condition, his move to Kenora would also create between five to six jobs for personal support workers in the area – to help him with his day-to-day needs.

Gould has started to raise money to purchase and renovate a house in Kenora that would allow him to live and work in the city, with a GoFundMe page. As of the time of writing, the campaign has raised $2,000.

“I had a hard time bringing myself to start the campaign. I’ve never been one to ask for help, even though we’ve received help in the past from the great community we have and a variety of support programs. But with the crunch of the time-line, and we know how great the community can be, my family and I wanted to reach out.”

Gould adds that if you want to get in touch with him, GoFundMe has a chat feature to reach out, or send an email to [email protected]

“We’re very grateful for all of the support. My end-goal is to be self-sufficient and give back to the community.”

Gould studied graphic design in Ottawa for 6 years.

For more information:
Casey’s Home for Independent! - GoFundMe

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