“Paraplegic Man Can’t Find Housing,” Help Me Howard Blog, WPIX-TV
By: Help Me Howard
September 3rd, 2010
Why is it so hard to find an affordable apartment for so many in this city?
Mitchell Braithwaite is only 19 years old, yet he’s already experienced too much pain in his young life.
Two years ago Mitchell was a 17 year old kid, planning on going to college, when he went to a party one night. Details are few, because he was a minor at the time. He says there was an argument between two other people, someone left and then came back with a gun. Mitchell was shot in the chest and paralyzed from the chest down. He is now facing life as a paraplegic.
After the shooting, Mitchell’s entire life changed. College plans went out the window. Friends disappeared. He had to undergo open heart surgery and months of therapy.
At the time, his mother Annette was married to Mitchell’s stepfather. The plan was that she would stay home and care for Mitchell full time, while they were supported financially by his step-father.
Medicaid covered Mitchell’s medical needs and the few hundred dollars he got from SSI contributed to the rent. Their efforts to move to a wheelchair accessible building weren’t successful, so every day Annette would have to lift Mitchell and his wheelchair up and down the front stairs, so he could go outside and make medical appointments.
The boom came down this summer, when Mitchell’s stepfather asked for a divorce and left, leaving Mitchell and Annette on their own.
There was no way they could afford the rent without his stepfather. Annette was not working and even if she was to find work, Mitchell would be left alone or would have to get a full time home attendant, to help with his medical needs. That’s when Mitchell called Help Me Howard.
Mitchell explained his search for housing; “I applied for affordable housing, I applied to subsidized housing, I went to housing offices, I’ve called 311, I went to social security and asked them for help, I’ve even asked doctors for help, but nobody is really helping me.”
The problem was that even though Mitchell was on the waiting list for housing and even listed as a housing priority, he still had an indefinite wait and the clock was ticking. They had to be out of the apartment by the end of the month and there was no sign of an affordable apartment.
That’s when Howard contacted Real Estate Attorney Adam Leitman Bailey. Last year Adam helped Howard find housing for a homeless young blind man. Adam was able to get Mitchell into a temporary Manhattan shelter for the handicapped called “Barrier
Free Living”. He will stay there, as Adam finds him permanent housing. Mitchell’s mother, Annette has gone to live with relatives on Staten Island.
Adam says he jumped at the opportunity to help Mitchell; “This is a wonderful person, who got really
unlucky. He had a bad incident happen to him and doesn’t deserve to be in the situation he’s in, but he doesn’t complain, he’s only asked for one thing and that’s for a place to sleep at night”.
We’ll let you know what happens. Let us know if you have any suggestions to finding a home for Mitchell.