Bridgeport woman struggles to find handicapped-accessible affordable senior housing
Carmen Rivera Santiago, 79, left a hospital Wednesday after undergoing surgery to prevent her from becoming paralyzed. Her family says it is now on them to get her up to their second-floor apartment on East Main Street.
The family says they will have to tackle the inside staircase, where they say a conventional chairlift cannot be added due to the wind in its constriction. They'll also tackle the outside set of stairs that lead up to the house.
Rivera Santiago's daughter Maria Rivera says her mother has lived with her for the past few years. She says it took two men to carry her mother up to their apartment Thursday morning.
The family says they are waiting for their mother to get a handicapped-accessible senior apartment.
"We applied for housing in almost every senior building that I know of," says Rivera.
Renee Dobos is the CEO of the nonprofit Connecticut Housing Partners, which has a mission to build and provide new affordable housing across the region.
"Seeing her having to be carried upstairs really puts her in danger," says Dobos. "If there's a fire, how could she get out?"
Dobos says Carmen's case should demonstrate to everyone how urgent of a priority fulfilling that mission needs to be.
"Because there isn't enough housing for seniors. There just isn't," Dobos says.
The nonprofit says there's a statewide shortage of about 89,000 units.