Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

Homelessness is like an open air prison

Homelessness is like an open air prison for the mentally ill, criminalized, socially maladapted and otherwise marginalized
Drug users, women, black, indegenous, people of color, lgbtq+, and other oppressed minorities cast aside in the street like trash to be picked up by garbadge men and women, swept out of sight when their presence becomes to hard to ignore.
Out of mind of proper society.


Offering a sense of escape and freedom but confronted everywhere by the systemic limitations and obstacles to access even the most basic necessities of life.
Human urine and fecal matter line the streets and out of the way corners, spaces those without homes are forced to inhabit.


Lack of access to water and sanitation facilities is a public health concern, not only for those who can't access them, but for the public at large who are forced to live with the results.


I've shit on the ground and picked it up in a plastic bag and thrown it out. Not everyone has a dog a carries poop bags with them regularly.


Those in need of housing aren't necessarily the worst culprits. Late night bar patrons aren't often left in want of bathrooms on their walks home or to transit, resulting in some of the more brazen public urination and defecation one might encounter.


I've seen drunk people piss on bus seats.


Why are we not proactively confronting such a basic issue of human rights and public sanitation? Instead allowing our cityscapes to fester into a literal waste land of human waste.
When you gotta go you gotta go, and the chance of a ticket never stopped me, just made me watch
my back a bit.


And in the daytime, washrooms are for customers only.
Why do we need to buy our way out of hell?
The ones who create the policies can afford to avoid stepping into the cesspool of their legislation's
creation