- [Interviewer] Catherine.
We're here in Ottawa and you have a story
Would you read it to me?
- Homelessness and Panhandlers.
Two sides to every story
is what I describe the article to be.
Panhandlers have been a target of the media lately,
both newspapers and the radio.
It's almost like a periodical thing,
something to be mentioned at someone's right time.
Then a new staff appears, a new payroll,
and the people who require the least to live
suffer even more.
Panhandlers do not grow up dreaming of panhandling.
For the most part they are gentle creatures
forced into circumstances because of their nature.
Black sheep is the old cliche,
exiled from their homes or families,
not able to recover from tragic losses
by themselves, etc., etc.
Illness sets in and yes, it can take its form
in addiction and most oftenly does.
A means to cope with the harshness of reality
that comes along with a kind heart.
In such intense financial and political strains
these panhandlers offer up a smile and bend an ear
to who might need one for free.
And if you can spare a few coins then that's good.
It's a matter of you stopping to care
more than it is for the money.
Many people that I know are seriously ill
having been excluded from a good genuine healthcare system
and are unable to work.
Some are single mothers whose children are now gone
and growing and feel empty.
That's my story.
Many times it is a history of child abuse
or hereditary history.
These were not the fault of the children
that you see before you now.
Accidents on a job site that was not properly covered
in insurance left many unable to work.
The world was designed to stereotyped,
divided, and conquered at the price of forced poverty.
Mahatma Gandhi said,
"Poverty is the worst form of violence"
and so it is.
Poverty in a prescribed way so the rich get richer,
and the poor get poorer.
I know, I am there,
and I know these people who have names.
Please do not stereotype.
I do not.
With that, my mind and my heart are free
and I can see clearly.
You should be so fortunate that circumstances
have not befallen you to such extreme dires.
- [Interviewer] Wow.
So, you're couch surfing.
- [Interviewer] Tell me about it.
- I'm staying at my sisters garage for a few days
I stay at where I can.
All those people down there on the bench,
I stay with them sometimes.
But I am homeless.
- [Interviewer] How long have you been homeless?
- Since April.
- [Interviewer] Since April.
That's most of the summer.
- Yeah, it's all of the summer.
- [Interviewer] What are you doing to get out of it?
- What do you mean?
- [Interviewer] Is there any help?
- I have to make a decision mark.
I have to make a decision, yeah.
- [Interviewer] What's your future like?
- I try not to look there,
and I try not to look back.
Day by day.
- [Interviewer] If you had three wishes
what would they be?
- My children and I get back together.
something politically correct for what's not correct.
You know, I tried tracking back the money
that the government allocated for all this homelessness
research when it was them that actually caused it.
Then it created a giant,
just like said in my letter there,
giant fucking payroll to study what they created.
And meanwhile I couldn't allocate any of the funds
that were distributed across Canada.
I couldn't track the money.
But in the early 90's there they went through
serious social spending cuts.
That's changed the rent laws and everything.
- [Interviewer] Homelessness wasn't like this in the 80's?
There's places to stay?
- Yeah, yeah.
- [Interviewer] Well thank you very much
for talking to me.