It takes Jean Moulton about four minutes to navigate the four steps at her Langley home. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

Lack of government funding leaves B.C. double amputee struggling

Jean Moulton filled out the paperwork, but the program to build ramps at her home is out of cash.

A disabled Langley woman may have to wait until next spring to get a ramp for her trailer built, after a provincial aid program ran out of money before she finished her paperwork.

Jean Moulton is a double amputee, with one prosthetic leg and one hand.

Last spring, she sold an apartment in Langley City and moved to a manufactured home in the Cedar Creek Estates park in South Brookswood.

Moulton, who lost her limbs to blood clots following a workplace injury, thought a mobile home would be a better option for her than a second-floor apartment.

“If there was a fire, with me being on the second floor, I couldn’t go down 30 stairs,” Moulton said.

She had just four steps at her new place, but wanted to have ramps installed so she could use a scooter or wheelchair for easy access and safety. She also wanted some internal ramps for two rooms that are down a step inside her home.

Moulton applied to Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI), a BC Housing program that funds modifications for low-income B.C. residents with mobility or health issues.

HAFI will fund up to $20,000 in renovations or modifications that address disabilities – alterations to bathrooms, ramps, doors, walkways, lowering light switches, and other changes.

However, once the year’s funding pool is gone, it’s gone.

“HAFI applications for the current fiscal year are now closed as the funding has been fully allocated for 2018/2019 fiscal year,” says the BC Housing website.

Moulton had spent months completing the required paperwork. She said it took four months of waiting before an occupational therapist could come to visit her new home and conduct an inspection. BC Housing requested more paperwork as late as Aug. 1.

Then on Aug. 20, she was told funding for the year was gone.

The earliest new applications will be accepted is next April 2019.

“It’s a lot of work that I put into it,” a frustrated Moulton said.

Now she’ll have to start over next spring and apply again.

The lack of ramps leaves her very carefully navigating her front steps every time she needs to get in and out of her home, using her prosthetic leg. It takes four minutes to get down four steps, and about eight minutes to get out of her house completely.

She moved to be safer in case of a fire, but if one struck now, she would be unable to use a wheelchair to get out quickly. Moulton would have to get her entire prosthetic leg strapped on first.

“It takes me too long to get the liner on and get out the door,” she said.

She’s also worried about winter, and the affect of snow and ice.

Zosia Ettenberg, president of the Langley Pos-Abilities Society, said that while HAFI has helped many people – she has used the program – it definitely needs more funding.

“They don’t have enough money to cover all the projects,” Ettenberg said. “The people who are in the know get their applications in at the very beginning of the year.”

But that leaves people who don’t get the funding waiting for months, as there are no other government programs that do the same work.

Ettenberg is planning to contact local service organizations such as the Rotary Clubs and Soroptimists, to see if they can donate. The Pos-Abilities Society can do the work for Moulton, if a donation can be found.

HAFI had an annual budget of $5 million a year. Funded jointly by the provincial and federal government, the program has now expired and is expected to be replaced with a new program next spring.

At this point, BC Housing representatives could not say how much funding will be available in the new program, but said applicant forms are being saved to attempt to make the process smoother for people like Moulton who are applying again.

Just Posted

Mounties warn about open liquor at Rossland Carnival

They’ll be out there watching for illegal drinking

The Trail Smoke Eaters win in a shootout over Wenatchee Wild

The Trail Smoke Eaters split its two-game series against the Wenatchee Wild on weekend

River rising in Trail

For up-to-date reservoir elevation and river flow information, visit BC Hydro’s website bchydro.com

Former ski champ and MLA’s son hope to open Castlegar cannabis store next month

Felix Belczyk and Ben Conroy are in the approval process for local Spiritleaf outlet

Victorian-era magnate, con artist had Rossland connections

New book explores fascinating history of Whitaker Wright

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

New military armoury opens in Cranbrook

Military presence in the Key City a part of the 44th Engineer Squadron

Most Read