Chronicling community action, revolutionary and revealing thought

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Homeless Under Gardner Expressway Update

Went to the solidarity stand with the homeless who live under the Gardner expressway. Everyone met at the corner of Spadina and Lakeshore, at least one TV news crew was there, Global. We all walked over to the location, and if you were expecting a dirty, smelly grimy living space, you'd be sorely disappointed.
  In a fenced-off area that had a voltage warning (it's not being used anymore) was a spacy place where Chris, a bespactacled man with long dark blonde dreadlocks, one of the homeless who took up residence there, had built himself some pretty decent lodgings with wood. I walked inside it and took a look around. He had potholders, insulation, a door, a small poorch area, and a bed at about eyelevel. Took him about a month to do from start to finish. He said with OCAP's help he'd stayed there 6 months longer than he would have otherwise.
  When I asked around what should be expected to happen, I was told the eviction notice would probably be just delivered. Food had been brought, and the supporters sat around and ate with the residents. I didnt feel like eating much, so I grabbed a couple slices of some cake and a can of pop. I've been spending a lot of time getting this here weblog off the ground, so I nodded off. By the time I roused, most eveyone was gone. I felt a bit sheepish. One female who was at the most in her mid-to-late twenties, was one of the persons displaced with the bulldozing that took place under the Bathurst Street Bridge. She was there with her 7-month cat on a cute purple leash. It was nice to know that depsite losing her home, at least on some level she had a sunny disposition. I don't know how I would feel if my dwelling place was demolished.
  Whether or not you consider it a "legitimate" dwelling place is something that would require a deconstruction of preconceived concepts on your part, as well as a willingness to open yourself to the possibility that the government is not doing what it should to help house the poor. And why criminalize poverty? Right across the place where we all met was a huge ad slapped onto the side of a building advertising new condos being built. Gentrification creeping up on you like mildew that won't go away. And what about affordable housing? Those are the kinds of thoughts that went through my mind as I did what I could by lending my physical presence.
  I got the feeling nothing would happen until the wee hours of the morning.
  Just like over at the Bathurst Bridge.
  Not a pleasant feeling, thinking that all one's efforts would come to naught.
  Now that I know precisely where it is, I plan on stoppng by sometime today, Sunday.
  I hope it's not too late.

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