Hobart man on public housing wait list says he can’t bring his wife home from hospital
Michael Fitzgerald says his wife will not be able to cope with the stairs at their private rental. (ABC News: Janek Frankowski)
Michael Fitzgerald would like to bring his wife Maria home from hospital for Christmas, but it’s not looking likely.
- Michael says he and his wife have been on the public housing waitlist since she had a stroke three years ago
- The Government says the couple has “specific requirements and preferences” and should expand the suburbs they’d consider
- Mr Fitzgerald says he has done that, and is now considering 17 suburbs
“Every time I go in she cries wanting to come home, she suffers with depression and anxiety disorders as well and that’s going downhill day by day,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
After surviving a severe brain infection five weeks ago, Mrs Fitzgerald has been deemed fit to be discharged, but her husband said medical professionals were concerned the couple’s private rental property was unsuitable.
“The stairs, the steepness of the block, they don’t feel like she can deal with them,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
Mr Fitzgerald gave up truck driving to care for his wife when she had a stroke three years ago.
They have been on the public housing waiting list ever since.
The situation has now become desperate after Mrs Fitzgerald’s recent illness.
“When she had her last episode, they couldn’t use the stairs with the ambulance, they just had to bring her straight over the edge of the porch there and took them an hour to get her out,” he said.
He said it highlighted why their current house was unsuitable and why they need public housing.
“I know there are a lot of people on priority, but a situation like this I think they should really look at it properly.”
Fitzgeralds caught up in state’s housing crisis: Labor
Mr Fitzgerald said he had written to the Premier, Will Hodgman, and Housing Minister, Roger Jaensch, asking for help.
“I’ve emailed Mr Jaensch twice and no reply,” he said.
Michael Fitzgerald says he and his wife have expanded their search area to 17 suburbs. (ABC News: Janek Frankowski)
He said he would soon be forced to pay $60 a day for his wife to stay in hospital.
“[I] couldn’t do it … I’d have no choice but to bring her home here to a dangerous place,” he said.
Labor spokesman Josh Willie said the couple have been caught up in the state’s housing and health crises.
“It makes no sense to have somebody in hospital when they don’t need to be there when there are ambulances ramping at the [emergency department and] there is bed blockage,” he said.
“I am sure many Tasmanians would question why this hasn’t been resolved.
“If the Minister was working actively to work with service providers and other housing options they could find something transitional for the Christmas period while they worked on a more permanent solution.”
Couple say they have 17 suburbs listed for consideration
In a statement, a State Government spokesperson said Housing Tasmania was aware of the Fitzgeralds’ circumstances and was actively searching for a suitable home.
He said the family had very specific requirements and preferences, including size and location, which significantly limited the number of suitable dwellings.
To assist with finding a suitable home, he encouraged them to expand the number of suburbs that they would consider in their application and to include areas managed by community housing providers.
But Mr Fitzgerald said it was something he had already done.
“I don’t think I am being unreasonable with anything, the Premier has told me to add extra places to my application which I’ve done, I now have about 17 listed suburbs.”