OCAP Panhandles in the PATH
OCAP's (The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty), underground Mass Panhandle in the PATH to bring attention to the plight our city's homeless yesterday was a bust. The protest was better attended by the media, police and PATH security, who outnumbered the panhandlers 5 to 1.
Initially the authorities denied the protestors access to the PATH, but I was too busy watching a DJ from EDGE 102 (as he identified himself), insulting homeless people and arguing with protesters to notice. Within a few minutes he was the center of a crush of photographers and reporters and it was over. Shortly after, breakfast was served and everyone who decided to have a bowl of stew ate on camera. I don't know what is so fascinating about homeless people eating, but it was well documented.
At noon the PATH was finally opened to the protest and we descended underground. Within minutes the halls echoed with sound of change rattling in tin cans and the calls for spare change. For the most part the panhandlers were ignored, but a few got creative and hit up the long lines of PATH eateries and the food court. And wherever they went an entourage of police, security and photographers were in toe.
A lack of affordable housing and severe cuts to social services has helped to create a crisis for the homeless of our city. But I don't think the people lunching and shopping in the PATH got that message. I'm sure they were wondering how panhandlers got into the PATH and why they were being followed by a security detail and the paparazzi.
Photos by Richelle Forsey
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