Disabled and poor man would rather die than be left homeless

Amir Farsoud

AMIR FARSOUD CHOSE DEATH ahead of homelessness.

Farsoud submitted a request for medical assistance in dying in October 2022.

He is 54 years old, lives in St. Catherines, Ontario and suffers with a cascade of  health issues stemming from  a childhood back injury—all aggravated by living in the enforced poverty imposed by meager social assistance benefits. He has $7 a day for food.

Applies for MAID

He decided to apply for MAID [Medical Assistance in Dying] when the rooming house where he lives was sold out from under him. Social services told him he would have to wait at least seven years for a placement in affordable public housing. Farsoud feared he would not be able to find a place to live that he could afford and still pay for his medications while waiting.

Farsoud criticized government for a lack of financial help.

“The fact that I [applied for MAID] now, as opposed to 15 years from now, is because both the federal and provincial government […] seem to think that disabled people aren’t people.”

Given his medical and financial reality, and having previously faced homelessness in his youth, Farsoud felt like MAID was his only dignified option.

“The dignity that you refuse to give me in life, perhaps you will be kind enough to give it to me in death,” he said.

'We need humanity to win'

Farsoud’s story made headlines. Strangers set up a GoFundMe page. In her letter of appeal, the GoFundMe page creator wrote: “We need humanity to win.” It did.

The appeal brought in more than $60,000. It will allow Farsoud to regain housing security, while he waits for a new social services placement.

Farsoud has stopped his MAID request.

As more cases like Farsoud’s come to light, the critical lack of resources in our communities becomes even more apparent. This should pressure our governments to act.

“I think when it comes to the disabled, the reason why more isn’t done isn’t the lack of will, but it is the lack of knowledge,” says Farsoud.

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