[Hpn] Our untouchables -- from down under

Graeme Bacque graeme.bacque@3web.net
Mon, 18 Dec 2000 01:04:05 -0500


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The Province of Ontario (Canada)  saw the passage of a piece of legislation 
called the 'Safe Streets Act' late last year, which then officially came 
into force at the end of January 2000. It was put forward as being a means 
of combating the supposed menace created by 'squeegee kids' (homeless young 
people who earn handouts by washing car windshields at intersections) and 
'aggressive panhandlers.' (Regarding the latter - I've been approached by 
thousands of people panning over the years, but out of these the number who 
fit the description of 'aggressive' I could literally count on one hand).

All this  legislation has accomplished so far is to force many  people - 
especially youth - into much riskier activities in order to survive, such 
as prostitution or dealing drugs.

The police have also been aggressively enforcing municipal bylaws that 
relate to people 'dwelling' in city parks or other public spaces. For the 
past two years, summertime campaigns of 'targeted policing' have literally 
flooded supposedly 'high-crime' (read: poor) Toronto neighborhoods with 
dozens of cops, who stop and harass anyone who appears to have fallen 
through the cracks left by the  economic colonialism which is sweeping 
through our communities.

At 04:22 PM 12/18/00 +1000, Ria Strong wrote:
>There's been a LOT in the papers here about "cleaning up the streets".
>The Herald Sun has run quite a campaign; it seems The Age is now
>getting in on the act...
>
>In the last couple of years, the number of beggers in the Melbourne
>city centre has increased significantly. So has the number of people
>visibly sleeping out.
>
>People don't like it.
>
>They're "scared to walk down Swanston Street" (one of the main streets
>of Melbourne)-- or so the papers report.
>
>Attitudes towards homeless people are negative here, as they are just
>about everywhere.
>
>There is a real shortage of affordable housing-- as in most big
>cities. This is rarely recognised.
>
>People blame homelessness on drugs, or mental illness, or gambling--
>anything but inadequate income and insufficient affordable housing.
>
>The Australian government is currently reforming the welfare system.
>They plan to extend "mutual obligation" to more welfare recipients,
>including single parents and people with disabilities. This will
>further increase homelessness, no doubt. People who lose their
>benefits as a result of "mutual obligation" breaches already make up
>half of those in crisis accomodation.
>


Graeme <graeme.bacque@3web.net>
http://bacque.graeme.tripod.com

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The Province of Ontario (Canada)  saw the passage of a
piece of legislation called the 'Safe Streets Act' late last year, which
then officially came into force at the end of January 2000. It was put
forward as being a means of combating the supposed menace created by
'squeegee kids' (homeless young people who earn handouts by washing car
windshields at intersections) and 'aggressive panhandlers.' (Regarding
the latter - I've been approached by thousands of people panning over the
years, but out of these the number who fit the description of
'aggressive' I could literally count on one hand).

All this  legislation has accomplished so far is to force many  people - especially youth - into much riskier activities in order to survive, such as prostitution or dealing drugs.

The police have also been aggressively enforcing municipal bylaws that relate to people 'dwelling' in city parks or other public spaces. For the past two years, summertime campaigns of 'targeted policing' have literally flooded supposedly 'high-crime' (read: poor) Toronto neighborhoods with dozens of cops, who stop and harass anyone who appears to have fallen through the cracks left by the  economic colonialism which is sweeping through our communities.

At 04:22 PM 12/18/00 +1000, Ria Strong wrote:
There's been a LOT in the papers here about "cleaning up the streets".
The Herald Sun has run quite a campaign; it seems The Age is now
getting in on the act...

In the last couple of years, the number of beggers in the Melbourne
city centre has increased significantly. So has the number of people
visibly sleeping out.

People don't like it.

They're "scared to walk down Swanston Street" (one of the main streets
of Melbourne)-- or so the papers report.

Attitudes towards homeless people are negative here, as they are just
about everywhere.

There is a real shortage of affordable housing-- as in most big
cities. This is rarely recognised.

People blame homelessness on drugs, or mental illness, or gambling--
anything but inadequate income and insufficient affordable housing.

The Australian government is currently reforming the welfare system.
They plan to extend "mutual obligation" to more welfare recipients,
including single parents and people with disabilities. This will
further increase homelessness, no doubt. People who lose their
benefits as a result of "mutual obligation" breaches already make up
half of those in crisis accomodation.


Graeme <graeme.bacque@3web.net>
http://bacque.graeme.tripod.com
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