Mathilde Cormery, a 24-year-old woman suffering from cerebral palsy, was unable to leave her apartment for almost a week. The social landlord claims to have no trace of his calls.
Mathilde Cormery has just spent nearly a week stuck at home. The young woman has suffered since birth from cerebral palsy, also called “cerebral palsy”. Usually, she is quite independent thanks to her electric wheelchair. But in September, all it took was an elevator breakdown for her daily life to be turned upside down.
The one who lives in Talent, a town in the Côte-d’Or, lives with her mother on the first floor of a building. Her elevator broke down on Thursday, September 15, and was restarted on Thursday, September 22. Since her mother works during the day, she cannot carry her up the stairs so that Mathilde can go about her business.
“I called several times the social landlord, Orvitis, without answer. They answered me today because of the article” published in The public good Thursday evening on her situation, she told BFMTV this Friday.
Orvitis, contacted by BFMTV.com, claims to have no trace of these calls. Otherwise, the social landlord assures that he would have called on associations or the social action center of the municipality to help the 24-year-old young woman.
Social and professional isolation
For Mathilde, a broken elevator causes difficulties on several levels. She is currently an apprentice student with the association DFCO Foot Chaise, which organizes football sessions for people in wheelchairs. For these 10 days, her employer accepted that she telecommute.
“But there are several awareness sessions in schools that I haven’t been able to do and that can harm me. I’m afraid of having shortcomings,” she explains.
Not being able to see her colleagues, but also her friends, who are mostly in wheelchairs, also creates “social isolation”, she denounces.
Especially since this problem is recurring. According to the student, roughly every year since 2017, her elevator has been broken for about 10 days. Orvitis acknowledges having “difficulties with the elevator in this building”, linked to wear and certain damage. In the case of the recent breakdown, the repair time is linked to the order of a part out of stock which took several days to arrive.
The elevator is currently under the supervision of the maintenance company responsible for the device. The company says it understands the “discomfort and difficulty” felt by Mathilde and declares that “not being able to move for 6 days must not happen”.
The young woman also affirms that one of the times when she called Orvitis, the person on the switchboard answered her: “you are disabled, so you do not need to leave your home”. “It’s social abuse,” she denounces. For his part, the social landlord “does not even dare to imagine that this could happen” because his customer relations service is “professional”. The company will investigate the matter.
Half of the buildings open to the public inaccessible to people with disabilities
“If I alert public opinion, it’s because this kind of story doesn’t just happen to me,” says Mathilde.
Stephane Lenoir, coordinator of the Collectif Handicaps, which brings together 52 national associations of people with disabilities and their families, agrees with him. “We have regular feedback on elevator breakdowns,” he explains to BFMTV.com.
“In general, it is unacceptable for a person to be stuck at home because of a broken elevator. Social landlords must implement their maintenance contract and not pass the buck with the maintenance company,” he says.
But, regularly in society, people with disabilities are confronted with accessibility problems, whether in their building, at the station or in a small business, underlines Stephane Lenoir.
In fact, according to figures given by France to the UN in August 2021, out of approximately two million buildings open to the public in France, only one million are accessible to people with disabilities. Among the railway stations, only 45% fulfill the accessibility criteria.
Source: BFM TV