Monday, December 7, 2009

Not Welcome

We have talked in the past about homelessness and what it means to be homeless on a personal scale. The article which we read for class, “Contours of a Spatialized Politics: Homeless Vehicles and the Production of Geographical Scale,” by Neil Smith, discusses some of the challenges faced by homeless people and how they deal with them. A few weeks ago, I came across a somewhat parallel article in the Toronto Star about a homeless person named Al Gosling who had died as a result of...not having a place to stay. I am certain that there are many other occasions of homeless people dying due to their status, although they are almost never reported. The reason why this particular case is reported is because the Toronto Community Housing Corporation claims that it has no responsibility over Mr. Gosling’s death.
However, as the article clearly explains, Mr. Gosling had been evicted from the shelter prior to his death which left him with no place to go in time when he would have needed it. Thus, there is a pronounced sense of placelessness in his case – Mr. Gosling did not own a Homeless Vehicle, he was evicted from a homeless shelter to become as homeless as one can get.
The author of the news article, Joe Fiorito, goes on to address the issues that surround the lack of maintenance of homeless shelters and how this affects the well-being of those who visit them. This is a clear illustration of the City of Toronto’s negligence when it comes to homelessness. They are all around us (and around city officials), but there is not a whole lot of action being taken to minimize their suffering, which would, in turn, minimize homelessness in Toronto.


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