LETHBRIDGE: The city marked an international day for people with disabilities through a special event at City Hall Friday, where local advocates called attention to some of the issues that people who live with disabilities face.
Christina Boese, who was on the planning committee for the event and uses a wheelchair herself, knows some of these challenges well. She talked to Country 95 News about the tough time she had finding suitable housing when it came time to move out of her accessible residence building after graduating Lethbridge College.
"When I had to move out, I found out that there wasn't a lot available in terms of housing," she said. "So I think of individuals with disabilities are living in unsuitable conditions for their needs, and that is a huge issue."
Peter Portlock, who speaks for the Social Housing in Action to Bring Lethbridge Home committee, says disabled people often have to battle stereotypes about how responsible they are when it comes to signing a lease or a mortgage.
"The stereotypes relate to how they can live their lives, how capable they are or what kind of damage or neglect may result in the accommodation they are looking for," he said.
About 12,000 people in Lethbridge live with disabilities, a cross-section that can and does make a positive contribution to the community - according to Boese.
"Everyone deserves the same rights and everyone deserves inclusion," she said. "Whether that means having affordable and accessible housing or whether that means making our city and our streets more accessible - there are several areas that we could improve upon."
The "International Day of Persons with Disabilities" will be officially observed on Saturday, December 3, 2011.