Bedford woman struggling with homelessness seeks help
A workplace injury in 2006 left Kim Gaetz unable to work
A Bedford woman who has been struggling with homelessness for three years says she doesn't know where to turn.
A workplace injury in 2006 left Kim Gaetz unable to work, and shortly after that, her home burned down.
Gaetz, while working as a teacher's aid, was head-butted in the face by a child suffering from autism. She was hit so hard that doctors later diagnosed her with chronic pain and fibromyalgia.
"You just wake up and go to work one day, you don't know what's going to happen. You end up in that position, and you think there's a small safety net. There's none, and it can happen to anybody" she said.
She tried to return to work but in 2009 her doctor told her to stop.
The provincial and federal governments both deemed her disabled. By that time, her mobile home had burned down, and she was left on the street.
"I've had the Halifax police department offer me their jail cell for the night so I could be safe and warm," said Gaetz. "It's been a humiliating experience."
Gaetz's only income is a federal disability payment of $774 dollars per month to cover all her bills including rent, food, transportation and all other bills.
She said the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) has not granted her request for a disability pension.
Steve MacDonald, director of communications for the WCB, said the board can't talk about individual cases.
"In any case, every claim is adjudicated based on its own merits, so the main factor to consider is the relation to the person's employment," he said.
Gaetz is currently staying with a friend, but she said that's only a temporary solution.
"I want the Workers Compensation Board to be accountable and to accept that I'm in this position today ... due to a workplace injury I received," she said.
Gaetz said affordable housing is tough to find, but she said she can only heal once she has a safe place to stay.