Street Dwellers - Part One | 25th July 2011 | 15:26 PDT

They're seemingly everywhere, littering the landscape emotionally and physically lost without purpose other than to exist. They sit crossed legged on the ground with a dirty hat beside them, some have animals for companions, and others are quite content in helping out the city by collecting cans and bottles for cash. I am of course talking about the residents that permanently share the streets with everyone else, the homeless.

I personally, reached my limit with the homeless yesterday after 2 week of seemingly wanting to be used as their personal ATM machine being hounded at for cash donations wherever you go  – There's a law here, whereby if someone asks you for money more than twice then they risk being thrown into jail for harassment and the police monitor this very carefully.


What bothers me is that  these are probably the most friendliest homeless people you'll ever come by (I question how homeless some of these actually are, though) and always wish you a good day and they're content with a smile is you have no money.

In most cases they're passive/friendly in their approach for money and sometimes I will have a compassionate side and spare a few quarters to help out, but only if I have the cash to hand and don't have to fumble around my wallet to get it, mainly because there's something slightly odd showing a homeless person a wallet with a few notes inside and then only passing over a few coins, think it might be called guilt, not sure.

But, this case in particular wound me up like rope. As I was buying a ticket for the Skytrain and this guy targets me, has had been hovering around the machines with long black greasy hair looking like a character from Shameless trying to sell his ticket for cash. I had no change and the ticket had expired. I say “No” and use the machine, click think think think whirl whirl, the whole time he's hovering over my shoulder like some black parrot oozing hair juice all over me, ching ching ching ching. My change gets dispensed.

He squawks out “Do you have any change?” Well, that's a fucking redundant question as you know I do, and no I don't want to give you any, for being annoying – though, being English I gave him a few quarters and him being a typical Vancouverite didn't say thank you - every fiber of my being was fighting the urge to scream FUCK YOU THEN AND GET A JOB!


Unfortunately this is not the fault of Vancouver, regardless of being such an expensive city to be in, the main benefactor to this homelessness is because they're unable to survive the winters anywhere else in Canada and so, like the moving objects within a Heath Robinson Contraption or Rube Goldburg machine they swirl, bounce, cascade, meander and eventually come to rest on Vancouver's East Hastings Street, where they reside indefinitely.

Thanks to the majority of them being friendly it's not unbearable, but it is exhausting and a rest every so often would be welcome, I don't know what the city is doing to solve the issue, probably nothing and let it “fix itself” through extreme weather. Though Vancouver being full of empty buildings perhaps some logic should be applied to this situation and fill in the hole, like they did when the 2010 Olympics was on, in order to keep them off the streets so tourists could have a nice time.

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