featured Poverty

Judy Haiven: Senior forced to live in bedbug-infested apartment for years thankful for support from our readers

Gary Aitchison. Photo Judy Haiven

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Gary Aitchison is the senior who lived for years in an apartment in a Halifax seniors’ manor which was riddled with bedbugs and cockroaches.  

On Remembrance Day  2019, he could no longer tolerate returning to live in his apartment.  Instead he went to a local hotel and asked for a room. Not only was he given a nice, clean room, he also got a daily breakfast and the staff were very kind to him. He had to spend his savings to pay for his first six weeks in the hotel. But after he ran out of money, the hotel agreed to let him stay as long as he wished. 

After Gary’s story was first published in the Nova Scotia Advocate, many people were incensed and wanted to help him.  

See also: Bedbugs drive senior out of his public housing apartment   

Management at the  Gordon B. Isnor Manor, where Gary had lived for 15 years, refused to talk to the Nova Scotia Advocate. They only met with Gary to demand that he return to his suite and stop complaining publicly! 

Gary remained at the hotel.  In February, Gary was told he could move to an apartment in Northwood Towers, which he had applied to live in months before. He moved there in early March. A week later, a Halifax social worker visited him at Northwood to present him with a cheque for $1150, money that she had raised in a go-fund-me campaign.  

Gary is very thankful for the support of many among the more than 12,000 readers of the NS Advocate article who wrote him letters of encouragement, and to those who donated to help him out.  With the money, he was able to buy furniture and household goods for his new apartment — since he had to leave all his furniture, clothes and more behind in his infested suite.  

See also: Judy Haiven: A victory for one! Housing authority finds new place for senior who fled bedbugs-infested apartment

Judy Haiven is on the steering committee of Equity Watch, a Halifax-based organization which fights bullying, racism and discrimination in the workplace. You can reach her at equitywatchns@gmail.com

With a special thanks to our generous donors who make publication of the Nova Scotia Advocate possible.

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