Homelessness & Social Exclusion

 

Although Olympic boosterism often utilizes rhetoric of social unity, the Olympic Games themselves have often exacerbated dynamics of social exclusion, particularly with regard to the homeless population. The desire to look like a “world-class city” on the international stage encourages cities to engage in a form of “social cleansing,” in which marginalized groups are treated as objects to be swept away. Housing displacement and overpolicing fuse in a toxic mix in this oft-ignored Olympic “legacy.”

 

The venue placement for Boston 2024 underscores this risk. Widett Circle and Franklin Park, designated locations for specific events, are near shelters and clinics for the city’s homeless population (Pine Street Inn, Boston Health Care for the Homeless, and Shattuck Shelter/Hospital). Moreover, the designated location for the shooting events—Long Island—was the home of the city’s largest homeless shelter until it was closed down last November.

 

 

Cross-Olympic Studies

 

Jacqueline Kennelly, Olympic Games, Social Legacies and Urban Exclusion (London: Routledge, 2016). (Sample chapters available here.)

 

Brief: Olympic Games are sold to host city populations on the basis of legacy commitments that incorporate aid for the young and the poor. Yet little is known about the realities of marginalized young people living in host cities. Do they benefit from social housing and employment opportunities? Or do they fall victim to increased policing and evaporating social assistance? This book answers these questions through an ethnographic study of young people living in the shadow of Vancouver 2010 and London 2012. Setting qualitative research alongside analysis of policy documents, bidding reports and media accounts, it explores the tension between promises made and lived reality.

 

Jacqueline Kennelly and Paul Watt, “Sanitizing Public Space in Olympic Host Cities: The Spatial Experiences of Marginalized Youth in 2010 Vancouver and 2012 London,” Sociology 45, no. 5 (October 2011): 765-781, http://soc.sagepub.com/content/45/5/765.abstract.

 

Abstract: This article is based on a cross-national qualitative study of homeless and street-involved youth living within Olympic host cities. Synthesizing a Lefebvrian spatial analysis with Debord’s concept of ‘the spectacle’, the article analyses the spatial experiences of homeless young people in Vancouver (host to the 2010 Winter Olympics) and draws some comparisons to London (host to the 2012 Summer Olympics). Tracing encounters with police, gentrification and Olympic infrastructure, the article assesses the experiences of homeless youth in light of claims made by Olympic proponents that the Games will ‘benefit the young’. By contrast, the authors argue that positive Olympic legacies for homeless and street-involved young people living within host cities are questionable.

 

**

 

Raegan Carmichael, “Hidden Costs of the Olympics: Preparation, Politics and Control,” M.A. Thesis, Simon Fraser University, 2009, http://summit.sfu.ca/item/9914.

 

Abstract: International sporting events, such as the Olympics, are often recognized as opportunities to renew infrastructure and boost economies, while the potential to harm marginalized communities through legislative action is underscored. This legislative trend will be explored utilizing an integrated approach incorporating Marxism, Garland’s Culture of Control and Black’s Behavior of Law, suggesting that the implementation of law serves specific interests, namely those with an economic interest in the Games and city officials. This thesis concentrates on the law implemented and/or enforced in two past host cities, Atlanta and Sydney, and the current situation in Vancouver. The focus will rest on how and why increasingly punitive policy and enforcement protocols are implemented in the lead-up to the Olympics, and how such legislation works to the detriment of the homeless who are often subject to the law with little recourse.

 

 

London 2012

 

Shannon Kyle, “Still the Big Issue,” The Guardian, April 7, 2010, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/apr/07/homeless-statistics-operation-poncho.

 

  • “Under the banner of initiatives such as Operation Poncho in the City of London, police, local authorities and charities have been criticised for using heavy-handed methods to deal with rough sleepers. The motive for this is to carry out "welfare checks" and encourage individuals to engage with services…However, the Simon Community interviewed some of the rough sleepers to find a very different picture painted. Some complained of being rudely shaken away at 2am to be "told" where services were running – even though they didn't open until 9am. There were also many people who hadn't been spoken to by outreach teams or, when they had, hadn't been offered anything they felt met their needs.”

 

  • “As the media spotlight of the 2012 Olympics looms ever closer [also Mayor Boris Johnson’s deadline for ending “rough sleeping” in London], areas of London previously used by rough sleepers have become no-go areas. With no sign that these people are being housed, the worry is that this is simply dispersing the issue to the next borough…Some had been slapped with a 48-hour asbo ban for sleeping in a shop doorway, and despite this being rejected by magistrates courts, their use was repeated time and again…Other people complained of being hosed down – a system of ‘street cleaning’ that involves waking an individual up in the early hours, moving their belongings and wetting down the area so they can no longer sleep there. And so the misery goes on.

 

“Olympic Homeless on Brighton and Hove Streets,” The Argus, July 19, 2011, http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/9147052.Olympic_homeless_on_Brighton_and_Hove_Streets/.

 

  • “Homeless people are heading to Brighton and Hove to escape a purge of London’s streets ahead of the Olympics…Charities have reported ‘harassment’ of rough sleepers in the capital as London mayor Boris Johnson looks to eradicate homelessness before the 2012 Games.”

 

  • “The campaign to end rough sleeping in London for good began in 2005 after the capital was awarded the 2012 Olympic Games…Within this is Operation Poncho, a joint council and police initiative which has been criticised by charities for ‘harassment’ tactics…It included reports of people being woken in the night and forced to move on.”

 

Sarah Boyes, “London’s ‘Capital Clean-up,’” Open Democracy, June 13, 2012, https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/sarah-boyes/londons-capital-clean-up.

 

  • “In the run up to the London 2012 Olympics, officials have co-ordinated a 'clean up' of the capital. While there's nothing wrong with sprucing up the city, local authorities have begun seeing urban life – sandwich board men, the homeless, touts - as 'mess' to be 'cleaned' through the imposition of bans and fines.”

 

  • “It is the one-dimensional redefinition of homeless people as a 'blight' on the cityscape that raises a clear problem. In February 2009, London Mayor Boris Johnson pledged to end the practice of sleeping rough by 2012, but many have been critical of heavy-handed methods used to get rough sleepers off the streets in time….In particular, the programme 'Operation Poncho' has been denounced for spraying favourite haunts with high-powered water jets to prevent return after asking homeless to move on. This practice of 'wetting down' is particularly uncivilised and demonstrates harassment difficult to reconcile with the remit of offering help. Rough sleepers similarly report an increase in being hassled in the run up to the Olympics through the imposition of 'no sleep zones' and the confiscation of alcohol.”

 

  • “Meanwhile, a 'dispersal zone' has been declared around the Olympic Village, where police have powers to stop, search and move on anybody found engaging in so-called 'anti-social behaviour'. In reality, this involves activities such as having a drink with friends in a public space or smoking in the wrong place. Journalists already report a group of teenagers being searched for standing too near to some push bikes. The casual redefinition of ordinary social activities as petty crimes – which has been completed over the last decade or so by successive governments - is seeing increased application around these Games.”

 

James Cox, “Are London Olympics Making Colchester’s Homeless Problem Worse?” Daily Gazette, August 7, 2012, http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/local/colchester/9860349.Are_London_Olympics_making_Colchester_s_homeless_problem_worse_/?ref=rss.

 

  • “Staff at Beacon House, in East Hill, have noticed an increase in the number of people from the capital since London 2012 began two weeks ago…Some say they were given train fares – a claim denied by the Metropolitan Police and Olympics organisers…But Andrew Brook, a project worker at Beacon House, said: ‘We have definitely seen evidence of this. We have noticed a lot more clients from London, people who have been moved on from the city or towns on the outskirts….They are coming in with the view that they are being moved, while they clean the streets for the Olympics.’”

 

Jacqueline Kennelly and Paul Watt, “Seeing Olympic Effects Through the Eyes of Marginally Housed Youth: Changing Places and the Gentrification of East London,” Visual Studies 27, no. 2 (June 2012): 151-160, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1472586X.2012.677496#.VSciEpOOByF.

 

Abstract: This paper examines the impact of the 2012 London Summer Olympics on low-income and marginally housed young people living in the London borough of Newham – one of six east London ‘Olympic boroughs’. Drawing on photo-journals created by the youth the summer before the Olympic Games were scheduled to begin (July 2011), the research makes use of photo-elicitation techniques in order to explore such Olympic-related impacts as gentrification, displacement and the loss of a sense of place for local young residents.

 

Michael Silk, “The London 2012 Olympics: The Cultural Politics of Urban Regeneration,” Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 1, no. 2 (June 2014): 273-293, http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jucs.1.2.273_1.

 

Abstract: Located within the broader urban shifts and transitions under the auspices of neo-liberal political and economic rationalities, this article holds together the mutual constitution of people/place through the London 2012 Olympic Games. Through addressing the regeneration of select pockets of the Olympic boroughs and the discursive constitution of belonging through the opening ceremony, I raise questions about who belongs, who is welcome or (dis-)connected and who constitutes the ‘active’ and ‘responsible’ (and thereby abject and ‘other’) neo-liberal citizenry within ‘productive’ places. With ‘useful’, ‘productive’ and acquiescent minorities reconstructed as citizens and moral subjects of responsible communities, conclusions centre on the tensions over civil liberties and the anticipation of risk within a multi-ethnic London and the on-going processes through which urban populations, urban spaces and citizens become bifurcated in ‘scary cities’.

 

 

Vancouver 2010

 

David Eby, “The Olympics, Housing and Homelessness in Vancouver,” Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, February 7, 2008, https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/olympics-housing-and-homelessness-vancouver.

 

  • “Housing is not the only area where the Olympic host governments are failing poor people in the lead-up to the 2010 Games. Additional policies (some proposed, some already implemented) impacting the poor are part of what appears to be a massive “clean-up” effort for the Games, including…[t]he city banning dumpsters in city lanes, eliminating the main means of support for binners who scavenge cans and other materials from our garbage…[t]he province creating a “community” court, designed for poor people in the downtown core, that will open Spring of 2008, but without offering access to any additional social services…[t]he federal government putting an expiry date of June 2008 on the safe injection site; and…[t]he city and federal governments closing and “renovating” parks used by low-income people.”

 

Christopher A. Shaw, “Olympic Economic Cleansing and Gentrification,” in Five Ring Circus: Myths and Realities of the Olympic Games (Gabriola Island, British Columbia: New Society Publishers, 2008), 205-218.

 

  • “The City’s Project Civil City, as launched in 2006, set four main targets by 2010. First, it aimed to eliminate homelessness, with at least a 50 percent reduction, the ‘how’ not specified, and at absolute variance with the lack of funding that would be required to meet this goal. Second, the plan called for eliminating the open drug market with at least a 50 percent reduction. How to do so? More cops, obviously. Third, Civil City planned to eliminate the incidence of ‘aggressive panhandling’ by 50 percent….Finally, Civil City called for a 50 percent increase in ‘the level of public satisfaction’ with the City’s handling of public nuisance and annoyance complaints. What this might mean seemed very open to interpretation, but at the least, it suggested that the ‘public’ in question was more the Vancouver Board of Trade type than average citizens, the latter including many who wanted real solutions that actually helped rather than punished the poor” (210).

 

  • “One controversial item that had emerged from public ‘stakeholder’ meetings was the ‘eyes on the street’ recommendation. In brief, it proposed using ‘City employees such as paring enforcement and sanitation engineers to become new eyes and ears on the street [and] have these employees become part of a new public order enforcement continuum.’ In other words, use City employees as spies, mirroring a practice that had already been used by Sydney in the run-up to their 2000 Olympic” (211).

 

Lucy Hyslop, “Winter Olympics on Slippery Slope after Vancouver Crackdown on Homeless,” The Guardian, February 3, 2010, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/feb/03/vancouver-winter-olympics-homeless-row.

 

  • “But for 51-year-old Wayne, a homeless drug addict, looking up at the snowcapped mountains where the downhill competition runs will be fills him with dread….‘We're all going to be cleared out of here before the Olympics," he said, wrapped in a flimsy sleeping bag and clutching a bag of bottles plucked from street bins which he will exchange for money. ‘The clean-up will happen – they all want to hide the city's black eye, right?’”

 

  • “That black eye is the Downtown Eastside (DTES), one of the most highly visible and divisive parts of the Canadian city's involvement with the Olympics. The area is both ghetto and historic community. It boasts a high concentration of single-room accommodation and cardboard-and-shopping-trolley ‘homes’ for Wayne and many of the region's other 2,660 homeless people.”

 

  • “The anxiety stems from a recent provincial government law empowering the police to force rough sleepers into shelters in extreme weather, a move which homeless groups appear to view as an Orwellian effort at civic image control. Police officers have been told to use only ‘non-forceful touching’ in implementing the Assistance to Shelter Act, but that has not stopped critics calling it the Olympic Kidnapping Act.”

 

  • “David Eby, the executive director of the BC Civil Liberties Association, said: ‘I don't feel that there is any question among most people who have been following the homeless issue in Vancouver that this act is targeted at giving police a tool to remove homeless people from high-visibility tourist areas.’”

 

  • “For three decades, the port has been a magnet for sex workers driven out of wealthier neighbourhoods, addicts and people released from mental wards shut in the 1990s. Methamphetamine and crack-cocaine users shoot up on the street yards from a police station. A relatively moderate climate and the concentration of needle exchange, safe injection sites and sex worker drop-in centres are further draws.”

 

Jacqueline Kennelly, “Olympics Sidelines Youth,” The Dominion, June 7, 2010, http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/3443.

 

  • “The Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) failed to meet approximately half the commitments outlined in their Inner-City Inclusivity Statement, according to the Interim Report Card compiled by the Impacts on Community Coalition. VANOC used these commitments to promote their bid and recruit wider support in Vancouver for hosting the Olympics. One such failure, according to the Report Card, was of VANOC’s commitment to protect inner-city housing and shelters. The Report Card points out that homelessness has more than doubled since Vancouver won the Olympic bid, and at the same time, between 1,085 and 1,580 units of low-income housing were lost in the inner city alone.”

 

  • “This happened with particular intensity—according to a number of homeless and street-involved youth who witnessed police activity—during the year leading up to the Games. In particular, homeless youth found themselves increasingly moved from downtown tourist streets such as Granville or Robson… The pressure to get off downtown streets meant that some youth had trouble accessing the services clustered around the West end of the city, including youth shelters such as Covenant House and Directions. It also meant they were pushed into areas of the city where they faced increased risks of drug involvement or crime.”

 

  • “Despite these efforts, homeless and street-involved youth still encountered the police during the Olympics, particularly if the young people were perceived to be out of place.…Homeless and street-involved youth also noticed police treated other young people differently during the Games, particularly if they were obviously Olympic revellers.”

 

Philip Boyle and Kevin Haggerty, “Civil Societies and Urban Governance: Regulating Disorder for the Vancouver Winter Olympics,” Urban Studies 48, no. 15 (November 2011): 3185-3201, http://usj.sagepub.com/content/48/15/3185.short.

 

Abstract: The paper analyses Project Civil City (PCC), a major initiative launched by the City of Vancouver in 2006 that aimed for significant reductions in street disorder in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics. This initiative is considered in light of the links between urban regeneration/revitalisation efforts and security and surveillance practices. PCC stands as a telling moment in the on-going and highly politicised efforts to regulate urban disorder in this ‘world city’. The paper concentrates on three distinct initiatives aimed at ordering different components of urban disorder in Vancouver.

 

Jacqueline Kennelly, “‘You’re Making Our City Look Bad’: Olympic Security, Neolibearl Urbanization, and Homeless Youth,” Ethnography 16, no. 1 (March 2015): 3-24, http://eth.sagepub.com/content/16/1/3.

 

Abstract: Drawing on ethnographic research with homeless and street-involved youth in Vancouver before, during, and after the 2010 Olympic Games, this article offers a portrait of neoliberal urbanization as experienced by a city’s most marginalized residents. Taking as paradigmatic the aspirational goals of Olympic host cities to enhance their reputation as ‘global cities’, the article explores what this means for homeless youth through three processes: city cleansing, city marketing, and self-regulation. Examining how each of these are imbricated with policing and security practices, the article offers an in-depth look at how these abstractions are lived by homeless youth in the everyday. The article concludes by suggesting that marginalized young people are not the beneficiaries of Olympic legacies, despite promises made by organizing committees. In contrast, findings indicate that homeless young people are further marginalized by the Olympics, providing support for previous research that aligns mega-events with neoliberal outcomes.

 

 

Beijing 2008

 

Jonathan Watts, “Beijing Announces Pre-Olympic Social Clean Up,” The Guardian, January 23, 2008, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jan/23/china.jonathanwatts.

 

  • “Beijing's Olympic chief has ordered a social cleansing operation to clear the city of beggars, hawkers and prostitutes before the start of the event in August…The planned relocation of "problem" residents and businesses is aimed at creating a salubrious image of the Chinese capital in time for the arrival of an estimated half a million tourists, athletes and journalists…Among the targets will be homeless people, unregistered taxi drivers, mobile snack vendors and fronts for prostitution, such as hairdressing salons and karaoke parlours…The authorities previously announced plans to put migrant beggars and hawkers in special holding centres that will be expanded ahead of the Olympics. Such "undesirables" are kept at these facilities before being forcibly sent home.”

 

Hyun Bang Shin and Bingqin Li, “Whose Games? The Cost of Being ‘Olympic Citizens’ in Beijing,” Environment and Urbanization (September 2013), http://eau.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/09/10/0956247813501139.abstract.

 

Abstract: Mega-events such as the Olympic Games tend to be accompanied by copious media coverage of the negative social impacts of these events, and people in the affected areas are often thought to share similar experiences. The research in this paper, which focused on the Beijing Summer Olympic Games of 2008, unpacks the heterogeneous groups in a particular sector of the housing market to gain a better understanding of how the Games affected different resident groups. The paper critically examines the experience of migrant tenants and Beijing citizens (landlords in particular) in “villages-in-the-city” (known as cheongzhongcun), drawing on their first-hand accounts of the citywide preparations for the Games and the pervasive demolition threats to their neighbourhoods. The paper argues that the Beijing Summer Olympiad produced an uneven, often exclusionary, Games experience for a certain segment of the urban population.

 

 

Athens 2004

 

Helen Smith, “Beggars and Drug Addicts Disappear in Athens ‘Clean-up’ Before Games,” The Guardian, August 10, 2004, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/aug/11/athensolympics2004.sport.

 

  • “Last-ditch efforts to ‘clean up’ Athens before the Olympic games begin on Friday have included removing thousands of immigrants, beggars, drug addicts and homeless people from the capital's streets…Human rights activists said yesterday that they feared vulnerable people, including asylum seekers from war-torn countries such as Iraq, were falling victim to the campaign.”

 

  • “In the count-down to the games about 70,000 police and military personnel have been drafted to patrol the capital…‘There is a climate of absolute terror on the streets,’ said Spyros Psychas, a member of Arsis, a charity working with the homeless and underprivileged youth. ‘People are afraid. They're ringing in saying how unbearable the police controls have become.’”

 

  • “Last weekend the authoritative Ta Nea reported that of the 13,766 immigrants arrested in the first six months of this year about 6,623 had been forced to leave Greece….Lawyers told the Guardian that they believed growing numbers of foreigners had been banished in recent weeks under fast-track procedures which allowed them no chance to appeal. Asylum seekers in Greece are often forced to wait months before being given proper papers.”

 

  • “A lot of ‘undesirables’ are thought to have been moved on to less visible districts….Some people are thought to have been put in psychiatric institutions where doctors have complained of being deluged with sectioning orders from public prosecutors….Psychiatrists told the Guardian that many of the capital's burgeoning population of drug users had mysteriously disappeared.”

 

 

Salt Lake City 2002

 

Charlie LeDuff, “Olympics: The Streets; Loitering Behind Clean Streets,” New York Times, February 14, 2002, http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/14/sports/olympics-the-streets-loitering-behind-the-clean-streets.html.

 

  • “On a normal winter day, the homeless population in Salt Lake City hovers around 2,000 people. But with the Olympics in town, those who house the homeless estimate the current number to be about 3,000…Some people came for the rumors of work, and some arrived by freight train looking for a sandwich. Others were evicted from their inexpensive motel rooms and apartments because the owners could charge exorbitant rents to the tourists visiting the Winter Games, while others had no place to go when their encampments under the bridges were bulldozed for security and beautification purposes.”

 

  • “As it turns out, there is little work. As for the hustle, it is illegal to panhandle orally in Salt Lake City, the police say. Scalping Olympic tickets for thousands of dollars is legal. Begging out loud is not.”

 

  • “The security is so tight that a reporter and an editor from The New York Times who went to the Union Pacific rail yards last weekend were detained, fingerprinted, photographed and issued summonses for trespassing. The hobos already knew this.”

 

  • “And while the police do not overtly harass the destitute while young, fresh-faced volunteers move around offering help and encouragement, there is a self-worthlessness that has settled into the thinking of many homeless people. Jimenez will not enter a McDonald's, because he is afraid he will be arrested for not having the proper credentials to enter. He and others are convinced that shelter administrators have devised ways to keep them inside rather than mixing with the tourists. For instance, extra lunches are offered at the shelter if people will stay and eat them. Moreover, if people are gone from the shelter for more than two hours, their belongings are tossed in a corner, where others can scavenge through them.”

 

James Thalman, “Salt Lake Homeless See Flaws in Aid,” Deseret News, February 21, 2002, http://www.deseretnews.com/oly/view/1,3949,70001264,00.html.

 

  • “They haven't been herded onto buses out of town or rounded up by police, but several of Salt Lake's homeless say they are feeling little more than cold comfort from the city's effort to provide shelter during the Olympics…‘The shelters are meager and minimal at best,’ said Jim Newfeld, an out-of-work electrician spending nights at the 500 West emergency shelter.’”

 

  • “‘We feel like we're under house detention,’ said a man who didn't give his name. ‘We're just kind of being set aside. There's a subliminal message in that sign out front. 'Perfect Sleeper.' They just want us all to be perfect sleepers and not say anything.’…He said the shelter residents also resent the fact that anyone who wants to stay there must pass through a metal detector. ‘But none of you guys did. You just walked right on in. They think we're more likely to be criminals.’”

 

  • “The group said they don't have access to basic services such as hot water and bathroom facilities, which are limited inside or they are relegated to three portable toilets outside.

 

 

Sydney 2000

 

Helen Jefferson Lenskyj, “Police, Protest, and Olympic Legislation: ‘You’ve Got to Keep the Buggers under Control,’” in The Best Olympics Ever? Social Impacts of Sydney 2000 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002).

 

  • “The Crimes Legislation (Police and Public Safety Act), introduced in June 1998, permitted police to conduct an electronic or pat search of a person, their bags, or personal effects, in a public place, if the officer had ‘reasonable’ grounds to suspect that the person had a dangerous implement….The first ombudsman’s report, released in July 2000, documented the extent of police abuse of ‘move on’ powers: half of the targeted individuals were under seventeen years of age, 85 percent were male, and 22 percent were Aborginal or Torres Strait Islander”  (51-52).

 

  • “The Children (Protection and Parental Responsibility Act (1997) was passed despite widespread criticism from many sources, including the UN. Intended to hold parents responsibe for supervising offending children, it provided additional search powers in specified operational areas when the person was believed to be sixteen years of age or under….[T]he police could remove a child believed to be lacking adult supervision, or one suspected of living in or habitually frequenting a public space….The vast majority of people fined were young, the homeless, Aborigines, and sex trade workers” (51-52).

 

  • “The Crimes Amendment (Detention after Arrest Act (1997) eroded human rights, including young people’s rights, even further. Among its shortcomings was its failure to treat the detention of young people as an action of last resort, and its failure to require a shorter maximum period of detention for those under eighteen” (53)

 

  • “Additional ‘move on’ powers granted to police officers and rangers by the SFHA [Sydney Harbor Foreshore Authority] Regulation closely resembled those operating in Homebush Bay: causing an annoyance or inconvenience to others, collecting money, trespassing, or sleeping overnight were typical offenders behaviors” (56).

 

  • “In 1999 and 2000, Sydney’s ‘Street Furniture Program’…provided park benches and transit shelter seating of a design that prevented lying down, or, in some instances, even sitting down, since the ‘seating’ was metal tubing against which one could only lean” (61-62).

 

  • “Two weeks before the Olympics began, on August 30, 2000, a Herald story provided a detailed list of recent moves to make the CBD even less welcoming for homeless people. ‘There are park benches that have sprouted armrests in the past year. Sydney City Council says the armrests improve access for the elderly; the homeless know they reduce their access to a bed for the night…Three homeless hot spots in the CBD…have been transformed into brightly it Olympic concert sites.’…Other examples included the installation of bars and bright lighting to drive homeless people away from locales that had served as their shelters” (62).

 

  • “Rumors abounded in 2000 that homeless Indigenous people were being pressured by the police to leave town before the Olympics; veteran journalists George Negus repeated these rumors in an October 13 Herald article….while other informal sources claimed that some Aborigines had been ‘encouraged’ to move to rural areas of NSW for the duration” (62-63).

 

 

Atlanta 1996

 

Anita Beaty, Atlanta’s Olympic Legacy (Geneva: Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, 2007), www.ruig-gian.org/ressources/Atlanta_background_paper.pdf.

 

  • “Travelers’ Aid, a non-profit organization developed to assist travelers and relocating people, distributed thousands of dollars in funds granted by local governments to purchase one-way bus tickets for poor and homeless people just to get them out of town for the Games. Calls came to the Task Force from Birmingham, Alabama and towns in Florida asking why homeless people were arriving in those places asking for help and saying they had to leave Atlanta.”

 

  • “Police in Atlanta were found to be mass-producing arrest citations, with the following information pre-printed: African American, Male, Homeless. The citations were left blank for the charge and the date and the arresting officer’s name. The Task Force partnered with the ACLU and volunteer legal resources to make sure homeless people knew their rights and had numbers to call if they were harassed or wrongfully arrested. Many people who were arrested were held for trial until after the Games. Habeas Corpus was suspended for many during the Games.”

 

Ronald Smothers, “As Olympics Approach, Homeless Are Not Feeling at Home in Atlanta,” New York Times, July 1, 1996, http://www.nytimes.com/1996/07/01/us/as-olympics-approach-homeless-are-not-feeling-at-home-in-atlanta.html.

 

  • “Tony Johnson says that in his eight years of being homeless in Atlanta, he has been bundled up like so much trash on the street by the police and carted off to jail more than 100 times, mostly for trespassing…Mr. Johnson said he did not need a calendar, a calculator or a statistician's precision to know that his arrests and those of others were clustered around events like the 1994 Super Bowl, the 1995 World Series, any Billy Graham crusade and computer industry trade shows.”

 

  • “Anita Beaty, co-director of the Atlanta Task Force on the Homeless, said her group had documented more than 9,000 arrests of homeless people from May 1995 to May 1996, a number she said was four times greater than what her group had recorded in other years….With that data and affidavits from more than 160 homeless people, the advocacy group has filed a lawsuit challenging two city ordinances and one state ordinance as unconstitutional. The group asserts that the city has made targets of the homeless in ‘a systematic effort to purge them from the streets and other public places.’”

 

“Olympics—Atlanta ‘Cleanup’ Includes One-Way Tickets for Homeless,” Seattle Times (AP), March 22, 1996, http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19960322&slug=2320280.

 

  • “Fulton County is paying the bill for one-way bus tickets for the homeless as long as the recipient promises never to return and can prove he has a family or job waiting at his destination, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported yesterday….Advocates for the homeless say Project Homeward Bound, funded by a county grant, proves Atlanta's hospitality does not extend to everyone…‘They have you sign a statement that you won't return,’ said Robert Farrell, president of the Atlanta Union of the Homeless.”