Disabled Toronto man finds place to live after being rejected by faith-based building

Disabled Toronto man finds place to live after being rejected by faith-based building


September 9, 2016

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A disabled Toronto man who was denied subsidized housing in a wheelchair-accessible Muslim-only building in Toronto finally found an alternative but much more expensive place to live, reported Global News.

On August 25, 2015, Global News and CTV filed two virtually identical reports about Austin Lewis, a 21 year old wheelchair-bound man and Rose Hill, a Toronto woman who, after spending years on a waiting list for subsidized housing, were denied a spot because they didn’t meet the main criteria for living there: being Muslim.

According to the Global News report, Lewis, who is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, has applied to several subsidized apartments through Housing Connections, a non-profit organization that manages waiting lists of applicants for subsidized housing.

In mid-August he received a letter from Housing Connections informing him that he would be taken off the list for an apartment at 3001 Finch Avenue West, which read in part: “The vision of this community includes providing housing for households in which at least one person is a member of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. This means if none of the individuals of your household are a member… you will be removed from the waiting list.”

At that time, Austin’s mother Laura Whiteway said “It doesn’t make any sense. It’s prejudiced, it’s racist. It’s wrong on every single level: this goes against everything Canada represents to me. If it’s legal, it should not be legal; it’s insulting, that’s what it is.”


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