We curse the destitute for urinating in public spaces with no thought about how far the nearest free public toilet might be. We blame them for their poor hygiene without questioning the lack of public facilities for washing.
Wilful misconceptions about homelessness abound. For instance, that shelters are plentiful and sleeping rough is a lifestyle choice. Free shelters, unless one belongs to a particularly vulnerable group, are actually extremely rare. Getting a bed often depends on a referral from a local agency, which, in turn, depends on being able to prove a local connection.
For the majority of homeless people, who have usually graduated from a life as itinerant sofa-surfers, it is impossible to prove.
(Continued in Part 8)
'Homeless in a Hostile City' is a collection of ten short stories that highlight the social and emotional impact of hostile architecture in urban centres around the world.
This May 26th and 27th, the City of Toronto makes an event out of opening its doors to the public. At the same time, the city installs and supports the installation of defensive or hostile architecture designed to shoo people away.
There is a dichotomy between DoorsOpenTO and the City's use of defensive architecture.
“Making our urban environment hostile breeds hardness and isolation. It makes life a little uglier for all of us.”
Source: 'Homeless in a Hostile City' is based on a February 2015 article in The Guardian.