Tasmanian family struggle to find a wheel-chair friendly house as move date looms

DERMATOMYOSITIS: Kerry and Benjamin Jensen are trying to buy a house in Northern Tasmania after discovering nearly all rentals could not cater for their increasing needs as Kerry's dermatomyositis worsens.
DERMATOMYOSITIS: Kerry and Benjamin Jensen are trying to buy a house in Northern Tasmania after discovering nearly all rentals could not cater for their increasing needs as Kerry's dermatomyositis worsens.

The Jensen family have less than three months to find a wheelchair-friendly home in Northern Tasmania before their lease ends.

Bridport resident Kerry Jensen was diagnosed with rare autoimmune disease Dermatomyositis in 2013, which causes muscles to waste away and has forced her into a wheelchair.

The family-of-five discovered they needed to move out of their current rental property by September.

Trying to find a suitable rental property became a nightmare, so they set up a GoFundMe page to fundraise for a house deposit.

It would mean they could add hand rails, ramps, a walk-in shower and other necessities, Mrs Jensen said.

“I’m not sure what we’re going to do if we can’t find somewhere.”

Mrs Jensen said she was not sure what they were going to do if they could not find a suitable place to live.

They have raised about $500.

The Jensen family were in the process of trying to access her husband’s superannuation early so they could get a house deposit together.

“We just have to wait for it to happen, there’s a lot of red tape,” Mrs Jensen said.

She hoped sharing her story about life with Dermatomyositis would raise awareness of the disease and of the stigma around people in wheelchairs.

“Wheels don’t make me any less of a person.”