FELICITY Amazon is locked in a bureaucratic battle to get a public house that suits her disability needs, and claims the Department of Housing is not willing to help.
Suffering severe chronic fatigue syndrome and a side complication known as multiple chemical sensitivity, Ms Amazon’s situation is desperate.
Despite her doctor officially recognising her as disabled and writing to the Department of Housing, she has been forced to live beyond her means, renting a house in Mundaring for $300 a week on a disability pension.
She claims her pleas to the department to help her after they gave her an unsuitable house in Denmark have fallen on deaf ears.
Ms Amazon’s condition is so severe she can only consume raw milk, cannot perform simple household chores like washing the dishes, and suffers hyper-sensitivity to synthetic substances such as detergents, carpets and glues.
She believes the Department of Housing is not honouring its own standards of service.
After she was moved into the newly-built home in Denmark, she suffered ongoing health problems including respiratory complications, body pain, bowel and nose bleeds for up to two weeks at a time.
“When I found out they were moving me into a new house I was quite shocked and I tried to tell them that the formaldehyde emitted from MDF materials used in new buildings would make me sick, but they just kept telling me there was no such thing,” she said.
“In the end I was given no chance and told that if I didn’t take this house I might not get another for one or two years.”
Ms Amazon had decided to move out of the city to avoid pollution that was making her ill.
Despite her doctor confirming her condition with the department, she claims it was unsympathetic to re-housing her, forcing her to live and sleep on the open verandah for more than a year to avoid the chemicals in the house.
The Gazette contacted the department on several occasions about Ms Amazon’s plight, but it would not comment on individual tenancies nor confirm if they were looking at her situation.
However, the department did confirm it had no policy regarding clients with chemical sensitivity and that it assessed individual cases based on medical advice.
On its website, the Department of Housing states appropriate housing would be provided to meet the needs of those assessed as being disabled, including the modification of existing homes.
Ms Amazon claims this has not happened in her case and the department remains unwilling to help her find a suitable home, or modify the Denmark home.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome affects more than 14,000 people in WA, and Chronic Fatigue Society of WA secretary Leonie McFaull described living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity as like “dodging bullets”.