Canadians, need help with laws. An experiment - what it's like to be homeless

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by PkennethV, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. PkennethV macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto
    #1
    Hi everyone. My friend has decided that he wants to do an experiment in order to find out how it feels to be a homeless person. He wants to go to downtown Toronto and for 2 days & 1 night and pretend to be a homeless person.

    I have agreed to assist/help plan/watch over him and take photos of the experiment. We are both 15 years old (turning 16 soon) and our parents are okay with us doing this.

    What would be really helpful is if any one here that's fluent with Canadians laws can tell us if anything we are doing is against the law...such as...is it legal to pretend to be homeless? Ask for money (not sure as of now if he's going to do this)?

    Is there anything you think we might have completely overlooked?
     
  2. kwood macrumors 6502a

    kwood

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Location:
    In the Great White North.
    #2
    I think your parents are completely nuts to consenting to this. I don't know any parent in their right mind who would let their kids (who are still minors) wander the streets of any major city alone and particularly at night. If something happens to you, they could be held accountable. Not the smartest thing if you ask me.

    Aside from that, I do not think there are any laws prohibiting what you are seeking to do. If you do decide to go through with it, do it in the late Spring/Summer so you don't end up frozen to the side walk.
     
  3. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #3
    It would be highly dependent upon your locale, however, as minors you are subject to curfew laws.

    Besides, at your age such an endeavor would be incredibly dangerous.
     
  4. iJesus macrumors 6502a

    iJesus

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Reno, Nevada
    #4
    Don't do it kid.

    Spend that time and volunteer at a shelter. Talk to the homeless people and see what it's like that way.
     
  5. kwood macrumors 6502a

    kwood

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Location:
    In the Great White North.
    #5
    Definitely much much safer, and beneficial to yourself and the community. Plus honesty will get you a lot further in your 'experiment' or 'study.' You need to remember that the 'homeless' are still people. They have rights just like everyone else. Treat them just like you would expect other people to treat you.
     
  6. sn00pie macrumors 6502a

    sn00pie

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    United States
    #6
    It is not a good idea at all. You parents should be concerned for your safety, and your putting yourself in danger.

    You make one mistake and it could change the rest of your life. By that I mean getting poked by a needle, etc.
     
  7. Surely Guest

    Surely

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #7
    Also, the 'regular' homeless in the area may not be too happy with you guys being in their territory. They may see you as a threat to their livelihood.

    If you want to learn about being homeless, volunteer at a shelter and interview them. Go around with a bag of granola bars and water, hand them out, and ask some friendly questions.

    It's a pointless experiment IMO. It will in no way give your friend any idea of what it's like to be homeless (because he knows that whenever he feels like it, he can say: "F this S. I'm cold and hungry. Let's pack it up, and go back home").

    If your friend really wants to sleep on the sidewalk overnight, tell him to just wait until the next iPhone comes out, and then he can sleep outside the Apple Store with everyone else that doesn't seem to realize they can buy it a week later......
     
  8. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #8
    one night? hardly any different from a camp-out in the backyard. Make the kid do a week on the streets.....and no cheating by giving him snacks when he gets hungry!!!! :p
     
  9. brendanryder macrumors 6502a

    brendanryder

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Location:
    Calgary
    #9
    id say do it in the day, but not at night. The night time is when all the real stuff goes down and you do not want to get caught in the wrong alley.

    Try it out during the day at maybe until after supper but dont stay out the whole night man, thats risky
     
  10. PkennethV thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto
    #10
    Thanks for your honest replies everyone, I'll relay this thread to him.
     
  11. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    An octopus's garden
    #11
    I have to say that I agree with the responses here. The idea sounds like a strange kind of social tourism. George Orwell did do something similar, but that was longer than one night and he held crappy jobs too: Down and Out in Paris and London. Definitely working at a shelter and talking to people is the way to go.
     
  12. smokestack macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    #12
    Don't know offhand the legal ramifications of this project, but I can guarantee it's not illegal to pretend to be homeless. I believe you can be charged with panhandling (but I don't think that charge is commonly laid, unless you are being aggressive/doing it by a bank machine).

    However, I would echo everyone else's statements here:
    If you are interested in the social aspects, volunteer at a shelter.
    If you are actually interested in the socio-legal issues of homelessness, call up Parkdale Community Legal Services. I think they are pretty busy down there, but maybe they'll make some time for you. (http://www.parkdalelegal.org)

    It really depends on the area you choose, but there are definitely some parts of Toronto you don't want to be around overnight.
     
  13. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #13
    Not a good idea, if you think bums are bums just because they don't have jobs and just hang out and do nothing you are wrong. Lots of these people have mental and drug problems, no place for a 16 year old especially at night.
     
  14. Leto-Parallels macrumors member

    Leto-Parallels

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    #14
    It seems like in order to really know what it's like to be homeless, you'd have to get yourself into the mindset of a homeless person, which would take more than just a weekend in Canada. Surely had a good point, in that your friend would be able to quit at any time and go get a burger and a shower.

    Even assuming your friend didn't give up before the end of the couple days, he would still be secure in knowing that after the experiment, he'd be back home in his normal life. That alone would stand in the way of understanding what it's like because homeless people don't have that same safety net.

    Also, it's kind of weird to even think about this, but how many 15 year old homeless people are walking the streets of Toronto? People will treat you differently from your average homeless person if you go up to them with cup in hand, "please sir, may I have some more?"

    I'm not saying you're too young but.... well, yeah, you're too young. I know that's stupid, but unless you're a master of disguise, there's a decent chance people will just see you as another teenage kid sitting around town. Or maybe they'll think you're just short on bus fare to get home.

    The homeless shelter idea seems good. Much better chance there of getting to know these people personally. Your experiment sounds really interesting, but you probably wouldn't learn much.
     
  15. kwood macrumors 6502a

    kwood

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Location:
    In the Great White North.
    #15
    Try reading this. I'm currently reading it for a Canadian Studies course.
     

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