Tuesday, August 19, 2008

are police the answer to the homeless question?

There's a report today about how the Chinatown Business Improvement Area has hired private security to get rid of panhandlers. The toronto council is being called out for not meeting the needs of the city.

"City council should be putting more cops on the streets to address this!"

I don't know if that's the answer. Maybe I'm too far down the left-wing but using cops / security to remove panhandlers is a response to a symptom without any regard for the cause. Adding cops is just a nimby attitude.

One response was to highlight how McDs & Timmy's are actively recruiting (TV & Radio spots) for employees thus people must be Choosing to panhandle. When you're of no fixed address I suppose it's difficult to receive a call for an interview. I also wonder how open managers are to the idea of hiring people down on their luck, since homeless are normally treated as criminals. To me the idea that panhandlers make more money than a legitimate job seems laughable. It reeks of rationalization by a society too eager to step over anyone rather than lend a hand. I'm sure like everything to do with money there are those that can exploit a set of circumstances to their advantage. I would say these con-men are the outliers not the norm.

I wonder if there've been anyone like Sudhir Venkatesh to do an in-depth study on the homeless to better understand the issues.

Related Links:
http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/reprint/167/5/477.pdf
http://tinyurl.com/5cjnj8

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