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Accessible housing a challenge for renters

A Regina woman says she is having difficulty finding an affordable home for herself and her son, who has mobility issues.

Landlord reluctant to modify rental home

A Regina woman says she is having difficulty finding an affordable home for herself and her son, who has mobility issues.

Regina Demyen's son, Jaycee, has a form of muscular dystrophy that is steadily progressing. His condition causes his muscles to atrophy as he grows older.

Jaycee, 13, uses a wheelchair and because it is too risky for him to use the stairs in their home, he sleeps on a roll-away cot in the living room.

The Demyens have been in the rental home for six years.

However, as Jaycee's condition has changed, his mother has been looking -- without success -- for a home outfitted with various accessibility features.

She has also asked her landlord to make modifications using a government program that helps with the cost.

The landlord, the family learned, is reluctant to make permanent changes to the house.

"It's the issue of making big changes to the house," Regina Demyen told CBC News. "With a child with a disability and the lifts and all this stuff ... that's something that would happen."

According to officials with the provincial ministry of social services, the property owner could apply for up $23,000 in a forgivable loan to make the house more accessible.

Demyen said the landlord was even reluctant to have a wheelchair ramp at the house, when Jaycee started using a wheelchair about a year ago. Regina Demyen was able to install a ramp that does not permanently alter the house, with help from the charity Telemiracle.

The landlord says he has tried to help the Demyens find another suitable rental, without success.

Demyen said she would like to have a system that helps Jaycee up and down the stairs. The only washroom in the house is on the second floor.

Currently, her son is bathing once per week at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre, or having a sponge bath at home.

With files from CBC's Iryn Tushabe

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