Homeless-Proofing the Streets

Do you know what these photographs are of?

The photo above are of a spiked surface of the underbelly of a highway overpass.

Apparently homeless people sleep under the overpass is too unsightly.

Better they go somewhere else. How about they go sleep on a bench somewhere?

It appears the non-homeless have been on that one too. The photo below is of homeless-proof benches.

These homeless-proof inventions are taking place in China and Great Britain. In Toronto they are building office buildings with slanted window ledges at street level to disallow homeless people from sitting.

I wonder if anyone is thinking of this kind of thing in Edmonton. I heard through the grapevine that the City of Edmonton has provided a special grant to the Edmonton Police Service to haul away shopping carts used by the homeless.

With all the development going on in the urban core, there seems to be an increasing interest in managing the homeless and making its unpleasantness less visible.

I have had the misfortune of being lectured to by a few people who are “sick and tired” of walking around the homeless or being approached for a loony or two. One told me the government should “gather up” the homeless and “keep them” out somewhere in an industrial area. He told me, “that would be cheaper than housing them.” That sounds like camps to me, you know the kind, like what we did to the Japanese. Maybe some of the vacant residential schools we sent Aboriginal children to are available for the homeless.

I have always written off such perspectives as being few and far in between, but the photos above speak of decisions being made by government officials and of funding being directed toward stopping people from seeing homelessness rather than ending it.

Read more about this here.

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