I am writing to share my personal story: At age 57, I’m facing eviction and homelessness with severe food and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), Crohn’s disease, an ileostomy, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These conditions mean that I’m even more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.
I have been ordered to vacate my current rental home of 14 years, as the owner wants the house back for a relative. Due to my MCS, the likelihood of finding a medically-safe house is almost nil. Due to this medical condition, I need a house away from other houses or buildings, major roads, and agriculture.
Having once been a wildlife field researcher, I am familiar with camping and outdoor living. But that kind of living is no longer an option for me due to my medical conditions.
I have food allergies that require me to prepare whole foods from scratch. My chemical sensitivities prohibit me from using a gas stove or campfire.
I have pain-related issues from Crohn’s requiring me to have special bedding in order to sleep. Most worrisome, I have an ileostomy (removal of my lower intestine), and use an ostomy appliance (bag). I must empty this bag several times throughout the day and night. This requires a clean bathroom. Due to my MCS, if I use a restroom, it must be free from fragrance dispensers, strong soaps and cleaners, and even hand sanitizers. A mask doesn’t afford me protection from these. To enter, I would need a full hazmat covering, but then would be unable to access the ostomy bag.
My ileostomy also requires complete changing to a new bag every 3-4 days. To change the bag, I must have a bathroom that is private and one that has clean countertop space.
My medical conditions make having a house a necessity. The prospect of being homeless terrifies me. I’m afraid I won’t survive homelessness.
But finding one I can safely live in is highly unlikely; additionally, because houses are in high demand and being rented very quickly without even being viewed, giving me no chance to view the house to check for chemicals that are toxic to me. And also because I have a Section 8 voucher that requires extra time for the approval process to be completed.
If not for the WA state eviction moratoriums (the federal moratorium does not protect me), I would already be homeless; possibly dead. But that only lasts until mid-October and I don’t anticipate will be extended.
My time is running out.