G20 conversations: No fixed addressby Pras Rajagopalan
Thursday, Jun. 17, 2010
The City of Toronto and Toronto police are working to house homeless people living inside the security perimeter as the June 26-27 summit approaches. Police have said that homeless people and those without identification will not be allowed within the fenced security zone during the summit.
As part of our series of G20 conversations, I spoke to Marty, who is homeless. Marty, who declined to give his last name, has been living in and around Union Station since around January.
The following transcript is a condensed and abridged version of my interview I conducted with him last week:
How are you going to be affected by the summit?
I don't really know a lot what it's about ... hardly anything at all.
Is this where you usually hang out?
Yeah. But the police don't like it, no. They're giving out tickets and ... they're throwing people in jail.
[Note: I spoke to Const. Wendy Drummond about this. She said that to be taken into police custody, you must have committed a criminal offence. But she added "in the event they are in the security zone, you have to have a permanent address. If it comes down to the point [that] they are still refusing to move... officers will escort them outside the zone."]
Have they given you a ticket?
I've got about three or four.
What do they say?
They say "If we see you again here, you're going to jail." I say, well, this is where I eat.
When was the last time the police talked to you?
I haven't been around a couple of days because I got escorted out ... last week sometime.
Where did they tell you to go?
But if you've [received] the tickets already, they still haven't put you jail.
Well, so far.
Anyone from any shelters talk to you?
Well they come down and talk.
Have they said something about the summit in particular?
Not really, no.
And the police didn't say anything about the summit?
No, no indication.
Do you intend to keep coming back here?
I have to. It's the only way I survive.
This is the area you like to be around?
[It's the area] that I know and that. I've lived in this [nearby] bus shelter until they kicked me out of there.
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- Pras Rajagopalan is interested in city politics, urban planning, and your used Krautrock LPs.
When the opportunity came to cover the impact of the G20 summit on everyday life in Toronto, he jumped at the chance.