Restricted by Red Tape

Filed in Recent News by December 7, 2016

CEREBRAL palsy is gradually making it more difficult for Mark “Bones” Curtis to move, but the most restrictive and frustrating obstacle in his life at the moment is the red tape preventing him from moving to Maitland.

Even though he has loved being part of the Scone community, as his condition worsens he needs access to services such as wheelchair taxis, public transport and hydro therapy.

Bones is 48 years of age and before cerebral palsy began restricting his movement when he was 35, he had lived in several places, run his own delivery business and driven semi-trailers all over the country; he knows what it is to be mobile and he is frustrated that he can’t make simple life decisions others take for granted.

Mark "Bones" Curtis is restricted by red tape in his battle to move for a better life.

Mark “Bones” Curtis is restricted by red tape in his battle to move for a better life.

“I’ve been waiting two years to move to Maitland through Compass Housing and they keep telling me I’m on the high priority list, but I think they are saying that to keep me quiet,” said Bones.

“What am I supposed to do? I am trying to make my life happier,” he said.

“I want to get better access to care, to medical services I need, better transport and be able to do more, I’m trying to live my life better and I just can’t do it here,” he said.

Bones said his general practitioner has tried to get answers from Compass and is frustrated when representatives of Compass Housing visit to inspect the property, but simply say there is a waiting list for places in Maitland and he must wait.

“I want answers from Compass and when I had an inspection I told them to stop playing the violin for their problems; I said ‘it’s ok for you, you can get in your car and drive away, I can’t do that’ and they went very quiet,” he said.

Lee Watts, manager of the Scone Neighbourhood Resource Centre said it is a problem she has seen before and the system is difficult for people who are already in a difficult situation.

“The problem is there is not enough housing and when a house does come up that is suitable for a person with a disability they have to grab it, but often that house is nowhere near the services they need, so it is a catch-22,” said Mrs Watts.

“Several years ago there was a 18 year old who was moved to Scone from Maitland because a house became available here and while he was very grateful, he was then nowhere near his friends and family or the support and resources he needed,” she said.

“Bones is in a really unfair situation, if he was able to get access to things like hydrotherapy he could be strengthening his muscles and slowing the march of cerebral palsy, so every day really counts for his life and two years is a long time for him, it is not fair that he is so restricted when he is trying so hard to make the most of his life; most other people would give up, but he is a strong character and he deserves to have a fair go,” Lee Watts said.

Update: Compass Buck-passing but Light in Sight.