Thursday, September 29, 2011

Major problems with the CEO Sleepout

Three observations, one question.

1. Real homeless people cannot sleep at 201 Portage. It is well lit and has security. Homeless people would be removed from this area. You also cannot panhandle in this plaza area for the same reason.

Perhaps the CEOs would like to call this one a mulligan and go sleep on Jarvis somewhere instead.

2. As I walked by 201 Portage moments ago I noticed a few red shirt Downtown BIZ patrols, and a police officer. It is too bad homeless people are not granted the same kind of security. Ironically, this beefed security is probably to prevent homeless people from panhandling. Those aggressive panhandlers everyone is scared of are probably the same people that these CEOs supposedly want to help.

3. Are homeless people allowed to come and "sleepout" with the CEOs? Or would they get removed by security?

4. Both publisher Bob Cox and Margo "Free Speech" Goodhand will be sleeping out. Given that the Winnipeg Free Press had an article or two on homelessness awareness activist Mark Horvath's visit to Winnipeg and CDI College, neither of them attended Mark's presentation. But they will sleep out in a well lit, secure outdoor environment. Kind of like camping in your back yard.

Gotta hand props to the Downtown BIZ though. This event is as slick, polished and matte gloss as any Downtown BIZ pamphlet you can pick up.

1 comment:

Devon S said...

While I agree with the problems you have pointed out, as well as agree that they are shortcomings, I think perhaps it could be acknowledged that it's better than nothing. As a WFP article said, they're "...experiencing, *in a small way*, what homeless people regularly go through..."(http://bit.ly/oGoOnM, emphasis added); so they understand that their experience is nothing compared to the hardships the homeless face. But, consider the fact that these people likely lack the skills, connections, and strength that the homeless are forced to build to survive on the streets.
Although really, I guess in the end the CEOs are being protected because they can afford it because they are, unfortunately, considered more valuable people. So while it is not necessarily the fault of the CEOs, the organizers, or any one group in specific, it is deplorable that our society as a whole values one type of person over another.
As such, I am not pretending that this is a step forward for humanity, society, or even our city. But in the end, it will raise money for the homeless, and it will make some very privileged people think, even just for one night, about the injustice of homelessness. So perhaps it won't be what WFP is hyping it up to be, but it will still achieve at least some good.