BC HOUSING PROVIDES MARKET RENT SUBSIDY TO MOVE TO BE SMOKE-FREE
Fervent Wish for Smoke-free Housing GRANTED
BC Housing, finally, provided the market rent subsidy that I, and five others, applied for four years ago – after denying me my latest beseech in March 2012. Why now? It's a mystery.
Like on Kelsey Grammer's Frasier, I have now left the building. Free at last.
I am grateful and relieved. Euphoric - a better word to describe how I feel, but that does not translate into silencing. Others similarly affected did not share in my good fortune. Being granted the market rent subsidy certifies me, a non-smoker, as the very hardest hard-to-house.
A colleague suggested that I am part of the hundredth monkey phenomenon. If that is so, then I, and the group we became, am #7. The rest that I know of number to 35 dispersed throughout BC, mostly isolated priming the pump or turning the car crank-handle. We who stand up and speak out, rather innocuously in my thinking, repeating lines from government produced documents, have a ways to go to that hundredth monkey tipping point. Six years have past since Clean Air Coalition dispersed ideation for smoke-free housing.
We are actors in a drama repeating lines written for us. Some prefer to remain anonymous believing their creditability remains intact; and preferring not to withstand the harassment. Others, like myself, decided to be more public in order to raise awareness of this very public problem. In doing so, I have garnered a great deal through knowledge exchange that I simply could not have done on my own. I share it, so others may find it of benefit. I suffer burnout from the coping with second-hand smoke.
BC Housing provides several kinds of market rent subsidy. The SAFER subsidy assists seniors. The RAP subsidy helps low-income, working families with market rent. In 2008, we were informed about the portable private market rent subsidy, and five of us had our doctors submit completed forms.
Four years ago, five of us applied to BC Housing for and were put on a market rent subsidy list. One immediately accessed it under the Mental Health Act. Mid-may, BC Housing granted me the subsidy to live smoke-free. Ask BC Housing for it, through firstname.lastname@example.org – to be smoke-free.
Five years ago, a senior housing support worker delivered me to what might be considered the grandest location in Super Natural BC. Ocean to the west of me, parks to east, with eagles, herons, and owls over here and there, I lived in the perfect rural urban setting anyone might imagine. Who knew that in amongst some of the most expensive real estate in BC, there existed a non-profit; a mere 1.7 km (17 minutes walk) from Crescent Beach. Here I would heal in this haven, promised the senior housing support worker and representatives of Crescent Housing Society board and management. This would be my home, where I would heal and retire.
Except, secondhand smoke from tobacco and marijuana affected my health and quality of life, and amounted to what might be the primary complaint in the complex, seconded only by management of it.
Convinced by everyone I implored for help on the matter of moving, who responded with “there's nothing more to be done,” I gave myself over to accommodating, assimilating, and acclimatizing myself, with varying degrees of failure. It undid me. It did.
I also gave myself over to an idea from my imaginings. No it was not the HR claim.
Living with chronic pain, you need powerful, interesting, enjoyable distractions. Ask Stephen King about that.
So enamored by the location, and acoustics of the complex courtyard, I sought out what South Surrey, White Rock, and area have an abundance of – musicians and conductors. By January 2008, my exuberance for the sound of music in the courtyard received equal enthusiasm from the South Fraser Community Band. By February, the band confirmed the July 10th date, and I received the blessings of Crescent Housing Society. The sound of music did indeed fill the air with an open air concert in the courtyard: a sterling, stunning event – a first for this grandly designed courtyard.
If you end up with a lemon, you make – lemon-aid.
The band enjoyed a grand time, and eagerly volunteered to come back – 2009, 2010, and 2011. I cancelled the event in 2011; the social climate being inhospitable.
Alas, secondhand smoke from tobacco and marijuana kept the spotlight, and became the focus of attention at an all tenant general meeting in mid-March 2008. At the end of March 2008, a new smoking tenant moved in beside me: the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. All of it now exists as recorded history. History got written in the subsequent paper trail. The story needs only telling.
Myself and others were relentless in our reporting of intrusions and interruptions of secondhand smoke from tobacco and marijuana. I gave over my time to gathering documents under freedom of information.
Let's be clear about why BC Housing granted the market rent subsidy.
I reported incidents of secondhand smoke incessantly, and resorted to living off-site when I could arrange it, and left a five-year paper-trail.
Of late, I heard myself described as the squeaky wheel, in the rather pejorative sense. Think about it. When your car engine, car wheel, car brakes, bicycle wheel, when any thing squeaks and squeals, might that be a scream for attention to fix it.
I am two months away from our group HR hearing.
What do you do living with fans on 24/7 trying to create increased ventilation and air flow, and in a climate where fans aren't really needed? Music masks fan noise. And...
I turned to learning about growing orchids. Orchids remain happiest with a strong air flow.
I have now left the building.