A covid conundrum…

Colin and Chinese foodI got a call from Colin’s case worker yesterday. The good news is he really, truly should be moving on April 30th. The bad news is they need his banking information. He can’t give them the banking information. He can read a bit but he can’t write and he doesn’t have any internet right now. His banking information is all online. That means he needs to come here.

I know the strict guidelines for covid-19. Stay home… stay safe. And allow no one inside your home except immediate family members, the ones you’re already living with. Having a special needs child makes that difficult, if not impossible.

Colin’s not supposed to be living on his own right now. I moved at the beginning of February and he was supposed to move within a couple of weeks after me. We gave notice to the building and booked the moving elevator. Then came covid and both were cancelled… then and again at the end of March. Colin’s supposed to be living in a group home with six hours of support a day. Not sitting by himself in an almost empty apartment. Everyone has been telling him to stay home. To only shop when necessary. He still goes to Dollarama and Metro every single day to window shop. He still asks me almost every day when we’re going to visit. Can he come over soon? We’d been living together before, he doesn’t understand why we can’t see each other now.

So he came over once for Chinese food and to download some videos to watch when he’s all alone. And I went over to make sure he was keeping up the apartment to the best of his abilities. Then we went grocery shopping together, with me stressing we had to stay 6ft apart. And now he’s coming tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to seeing him and sharing pizza tomorrow but I can’t help but worry that I’m putting him in danger (or he’s putting me in danger). It’s not like covid-19 has a neon sign. I’ve got soap and Lysol wipes so we’ll muddle through as best we can. Having a special needs child is hard and covid’s made it so much harder.

I don’t know when I’m going to see him again after this. He’ll be moving (fingers crossed) in a couple of weeks and will be at least one hour’s drive away. But he’ll have his own apartment and loads of support. It’s just getting him to that point.

Everything’s coming up roses…

First we had my apartment. It was being built so I couldn’t see it, I had to move in sight unseen. Then they gave me a Walmart gift card with a surprising amount of money on it and a brand new double bed and bedding set. The only hard part was that Colin didn’t have a place yet… and now he does.

I was talking to his case manager today and Colin can’t see the apartment because they have a construction crew in there fixing it up. He’s going to have a full apartment; living room, dining room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. It will definitely be bigger than mine. Plus he gets six hours of assistance a day. Help with dishes, cleaning up, laundry etc. They’ll be taking him out for excursions too. He can only bring a certain amount of belongings with him but that’s mainly because they are buying him all the furniture he needs… his choice. The paint in his room and his bedding are also his choice.

Colin can be extremely hard to live with (and conversely can be a delight). Just because I didn’t want to live with him anymore doesn’t mean I want him on the street or some scuzzy room. So I am absolutely amazed and delighted by this turn of events. I am so very happy for him.

Tomorrow I’m meeting up with family and friends to repaint the bedroom walls that I painted four or five years ago. And I’m going to collect everything I forgot. Brain fog and short term memory problems are a blast. Colin has laundry and cleaning up to do. Then I’ll be back there on Thursday to meet with his case manager and discuss the upcoming move.

Thanks to my anxiety, I won’t feel 100% settled until he’s in his own place. But for now I want to sing from the rooftops that Colin has an apartment!

new-apartment

I don’t have a picture of Colin’s apartment so here’s the scrapbooking layout I made for mine.

Falling through the cracks…

I got approved for my apartment back in January and figured it would be easy to get Colin an apartment before I moved. After all we had so much time.

The first spot we looked at was my own building since it’s being built as affordable housing. A market rent apartment there is $840/m which is doable. Sadly they updated the page and now electricity is not included. The local hydro company informed me it would be between $100 or $200 a month, which he cannot afford.

Then we moved our view to the co-op behind us. I’ve got friends there and the price was reasonable at $894/m. It even included all utilities and basic cable. We went to pick up an application and discovered the rent was just over $900/m now and going up more in June. Colin sadly informed me he just couldn’t afford that. He’d be left with just under $200/m to buy groceries and his bus pass. And there’s no way he could afford internet or a cellphone, which aren’t technically necessities but are needed to communicate.

He’s involved with four agencies now and got a chance at a room. It was $850/m and included meals. He agreed to take a look, hoping it would be as big as his room here because then he could keep all his computers. He’s got a computer for every Windows that has been produced since he was born. This kid is a born geek.

The room turned out to be in a nursing home and had two other beds in there with no privacy curtains. He would not have the room for any of his belongings, other than some clothes, and would be living in close quarters with two strangers. He turned it down and we all agreed it wasn’t a good fit.

I figure, with four agencies, he should find something soon. Which is good seeing as all I’ve found in his price range is a bachelor in a really crummy building, complete with free range roaches.

Huffington Post

I left a message with the building I’m moving into asking for an estimated completion date or tentative move in date but haven’t heard anything yet. I’m going to need to give two months notice here so the earliest I can move at this point is July 1st. I’m sure all of us who are moving there are in the same boat.

I can’t help but feeling like we’re falling through the cracks, especially Colin. I’ve found several amazing looking basement apartments for under $700/m but one agency he’s working with will not assist him (or anyone else) with basement apartments. They’re offering to pay his last month’s rent and putting $200 towards moving expenses so it’s not like we can just say, “Nah, they aren’t worth it.”

But tomorrow’s the start of a new work week and there’s two agencies now who are looking for supportive housing for him (on top of the other searches). With any luck they’ll find something amazing for him soon and we can start our packing and letting go… of our apartment… of belongings that just don’t fit… and of living with another person. Let’s just hope those cracks are small and Colin gets a place before he falls through.