Thomas Mohr, an Oakville man who became homeless after his leg was amputated, continues living in his vehicle at an Oakville shopping plaza. It’s now been 238 days.
Mohr had been a carpenter for decades. After he lost his leg due to medical reasons, the 69-year-old claims the government has refused to cover the costs of a customized prosthetic. He has what is called a ‘bulbous stump,’ meaning the base of his limb is larger in width than his knee. Mohr’s family has been trying to raise money since to get him a prosthetic from the U.S. that costs C$80,000 so that he can return to work.
Global News’ initial story was published on June 20. Mohr said two days later, he was approached by outreach workers with Halton region accompanied by police officers to provide housing support.
When asked why officers were present, Halton police spokesperson Ryan Anderson said: “At that time officers assisted Halton Housing Help in connecting an individual with a temporary residence. The HRPS was not involved with the seizure of a truck or any other personal belongings.”
“The sole purpose of the HRPS involvement in this occurrence was community outreach.”
Following the encounter with the region, Mohr said he was then dropped off at a Burlington hotel roughly 20 minutes away from where his vehicle was parked. Mohr said he was given an accessible room, but minutes after the door shut, he realized he wouldn’t be able to sleep there.
“I’m looking at this bed and this bed is three feet off the ground. When you’ve lost a limb, especially a leg, this makes it virtually impossible to get into the bed,” he said.
Not only was Mohr unable to get into the hotel bed, he said he found out the room was only booked for four days. He said there was no follow up from the region about additional support for things like food, water or medical assistance. He said he tried calling staff, but there was no answer.
That night, Mohr ended up back in his vehicle.
“This case is really a microcosm of so many issues we’re facing,” said Dr. Andrew Pinto, director of The Upstream Lab at St. Michael’s Hospital. “One is the ‘silo-ing’ between his health providers, the housing authorities, the social services agencies.”
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Pinto said that in addition to there being a lack of cohesion among governments and social services agencies, the system has failed Mohr and so many others trying to access housing with a disability.
“We have not dedicated anything like we needed to in terms of adequate housing, particularly for people who have a disability,” he said.
“We have tremendous waitlists of years and years where people are waiting to access affordable housing.”
Halton Region told Global News that it responded once it learned of Mohr’s case.
“When Regional staff were made aware of Mr. Mohr’s situation, Halton responded immediately and offered the individual a number of supports and services,” the region said in a statement.
“Accessible shelter, housing supports, food and medication assistance continue to be available to Mr. Mohr, as well as any other individual experiencing homelessness in Halton, if they are willing to accept the support.”
Mohr said that while he’s been in touch with the region since its attempt to house him, there has been no solution to date.
“I said, ‘You didn’t provide a plan, you didn’t provide adequate housing for my needs and you left me high and dry,’” he said.
“If you’re going to take somebody off the streets, you’re going to have to look at everything they’re going to need in order to acquire a satisfactory ending.”
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