Blind, paraplegic Calgarian who needs accessible housing thanks Good Samaritan

Mike Hambly, a blind and paraplegic Calgary man, says he has a lot to be grateful for since CBC News first shared his story last fall — when he was losing his wheelchair-accessible home and couldn't find a place to rent. But he fears he could be forced from his home, due to a shortage of accessible housing that also affects other Albertans.

Andre Mamprin offers to help after hearing about Mike Hambly's housing struggles

Since CBC News shared the struggle by Mike Hambly (right) to find accessible housing last October, good Samaritan Andre Mamprin has come forward to help.

Mike Hambly says he has a lot to be grateful for since CBC first shared his story last fall. But the reality is that he could still be forced onto the street.

"I guess until I know I am staying here I will be worried," says Hambly.

Hambly, who was left blind and paraplegic after a car accident, lives in his retrofitted wheelchair-accessible home in the southeast community of Erin Woods.

He was living there with his wife until they separated last year. He was hoping to buy her out, but he hasn't been able to get a bank loan because he doesn't make enough money.

And he hasn't been able to find a place to rent, he says, because of a lack of affordable, accessible housing in this city.

That's the story Andre Mamprin heard on CBC Radio while eating his breakfast one morning last October.

"I just thought it was incredibly moving and wanted to see if I could do anything through my network, my colleagues, my work, all of it, to create some momentum, to compel people to help him out," said Mamprin, a management consultant.

"I've been really blessed in my career and my health and everything, and it's an opportunity to give back and do something for someone else."

Two-fold goal

Mamprin immediately called CBC News to find out how to reach Hambly. Since then, Mamprin has been helping Hambly out, financially and emotionally.

"I've got a friend now. I mean, he phoned me up to wish me a  Merry Christmas and say hey, how are things going? He cares," said Hambly.

Mamprin says his goal is two-fold, to help Hambly stay in his home and find work. 

"He's at a big disadvantage in my view, but since I've met Mike I've come to learn that he's amazing. He doesn't expect anything from anyone. He's self-sufficient.  He wants to contribute.  He created some Braille cards for me."   

Hambly runs a small businesses out of his home called Braille It. He also does woodworking in his garage. Before that he had been working in the field of social work.

Lack of housing 'has to change'

Hambly's life has changed considerably since that day in October. He's not only found a friend and champion in Mamprin.

But he also started receiving government support through AISH and Canadian Pension Plan Disability. He's also set up a GoFundMe account, with the help of his health care aide, Amanda Patterson.

"I wrote it and it's basically just about what happened to him in his life.... and how the city of Calgary doesn't have any housing for anyone, let alone for people with disabilities."said Patterson.

Hambly says once he's able to secure a home for himself, he plans to shift gears and start advocating for others struggling to find accessible housing.

"I have a passion to keep going with this. I'm not the only person in this city that's needing housing," said Hambly.

"I mean there's 23-year-old kids that have a spinal cord injury that are living in nursing homes. There's a young fellow that I heard that's been laying in a hospital bed for six months because there's nowhere for him to go. That has to change."


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