David, about 40 years old, migrated to Canada from Mali. David has been on the street for years, categorizing as chronic homeless. He lives between the neighborhoods Christie and the Annex. Although his brother lives in the city, they have lost all contact with each other. He is followed by a doctor for a mental disorder.
F: Why people ignore you?
D:“…Because they are ignorant or stupid, maybe is something in consequence. People have to show you confidence, encouragement and understanding, not ignore me, they collect money for nothing. It is meaningless like that, it is nothing! Like today you are here, tomorrow you die. So what is money? They are more focused on money. You have to do something to change it. You have to believe in God that’s all. Nobody changes to nobody, that’s will, interest. You need people with good heart and open minded.
F: If you could communicate with all these people what would you do?
D:“But almost all the society is not living this way (…)They try, most of them they try. But either no… One day? I don’t know. One day maybe (it)will be good. One day there (…)You have to have something to… I mean, if you want to do something you will do it, there is nothing impossible. God gives you help to create or to change. But still I am leaving here. I have a roof over my head, that’s all. In hotel or room…
F: “David, I think your experience is important”… (how do you become homeless?)
D:“There are two choices, you know: some of them, this is very hard to understand these people, so that’s stay in the street. Because of social and political situation, but some of them like adventure. Some of them are poorer than everybody. ”
F: “What about you?”
D:“I have become homeless because I have not alternatives, I have tried, I have tried but it never happened. I have tried so many things, for example the same like you or different people.”
“They say they have something to give me? Answer yes or no! if not, how can I know? They say “wait wait wait” but for how long? This is very disgusting ! For how long I have to wait for one job or rental housing. For metro housing you have to wait for 20, 10 years. What is the difference? you pay here you as you pay for metro housing. “
“The government pays for everybody, if you don’t have money, they will pay. Whether you are a citizen or not they pay you, because you are not an animal but a human beings. Here is like everywhere else France, Switzerland is all the same. “
“Now they changed the system, it used to be socialist. Now is more conservative, now is more complex. That’s way the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. That’s why the difference in the income, is big between the sky and the ground… Because the middle class become more rich, this is part of the problem and the poor people, nobody can see them, because they are poor and they don’t have money to spend.”
“There are many homeless people, not only on Bloor-West street but in general. There are depending on families sometimes, but they said no. The family has no money for food or anything. And you need money for everything: food, rent and everything… how can they give you extra money rather to your son or rather… “
“The main thing is the economy: when the economy is big they expand to the people to the welfare, to the church, but if the economy is zero everybody needs money. Everybody needs money. I don’t have money the problem is “expandation” (sic.).
“Sometimes if you changed the idea sometimes is even worse. When you change system the economy will become something else because you don’t know . This system is good for the people, if it want good why the people are not accepting.”
“People with money are also not happy, they have to use the money. In different way: like discothèque, if you collect money, nothing. Tomorrow is tomorrow, today is today. Maybe we are not here you are somewhere else.”
“Today is your turn to be happy, you have hope to be the same, the same day. There is hope: The same day the same discothèque, the same beer, the same job every day.”
“Today is a lucky day for me, tomorrow is the same lucky day. Why Collect, collect money? Tomorrow is nothing. Maybe you will go to Niagara and lose all your money. It not nice there, it is addiction. You sell your house, it’s crazy, you become kuku! You have to manage, you have to care about your family. If you finish all your money where do you go? Even your family will not help you. You have to find balance, you have to think from now to 5 years, what I am going to do. At least you have to have a house, if you don’t have a place and money, where are you going to nothing?”
“Money is sometimes power. With money I can buy food, bread. Nothing is free in this society, not like before. Before it was much money. But now time is changed. Canada and everywhere is not the same. People sleep outside, people who came here with a dream. It’s hard, eh?”