Re: OCAP protesters: Toronto city's homeless task force a

Liberty (
Sat, 23 May 1998 12:12:07 -0400


At 06:32 AM 23/05/1998 -0700, Tom Boland wrote:

>Will this demo, and the way the media portrayed it, help or hurt homeless
>people's prospects for material gains?  Why?

All I see, as a member of the observing public, is anger and derision by 
the protesters to a woman who was appointed to head a task force into
homelessness.  I am not stupid enough to believe this task force will lead 
to many solutions either, but the demo would certainly detract from any 
opportunities that might have been had to ensure broad-based participation 
by the homeless in designing some of their own solutions.

Do you actually think Ms. Golden will listen to the people who are shouting
at her, screaming epithets of anger from the outside, and smearing her
name all over the place?  Of course not!  Why should she?  Those who did
this certainly forced another door shut in their face, when it could have
been at least partially opened before.

After all, the homeless will remain on the streets.  People living in 
poverty will be viewed by members of the non-poor public as being angry
and radical.  They will be viewed by their non-radical poor cohorts with 
a significant amount of embarrassment, wondering who these people are that
claim to represent the interests of the poor. I know many low-income people 
who have expressed embarrassment at Clark's tactics, and feel that the
majority of poor people are not getting heard by OCAP.  Most poor folks
that I know want to get back to work, leave welfare and gain self-respect.

I liken John Clark's strategy to the "tear the institutions down" mode of
mental health reform.  Okay, so the institutions have been torn down, and
the people that used to live in them, now live in the street.  Now, what?
This is the question I would ask of the demonstrators.  All that has been
achieved thus far is even more people who are homeless.


Liberty (Lillian)

P.S. 	I don't support the idea of loosened commitment laws either. I would
	instead propose a strategy that would end welfare dependency for all,
	and replace it with job opportunities.  The only way that can be
	achieved is a stronger economy and an environment that is friendly 
	to small business, which does 85% of the hiring.  And, yes, this is
	exactly what is being achieved today - unemployment has been cut in
	half, consumer spending is at an all time high, less people are relying
	on welfare ... and yes, times will get even better.