There are no easy answers to this problem, though there are many simple ones.
Leave it to their self-appointed advocates, however, to propose one that doesn't help them get back on their feet:
The law that bans squeegee kids from asking motorists for money and washing windshields in return violates the constitutional protection for free speech, the Ontario Court of Appeal was told yesterday.
"Both the purpose and the effect of the law is to restrict speech," lawyer Frank Addario told the court on behalf of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which is intervening in the appeal of the Safe Streets Act, a law passed by the province in 1999 to outlaw aggressive panhandling and squeegee-cleaning.
Since it was passed, the validity of the law, which has been upheld in two lower court hearings, has been questioned by civil libertarians and supporters of street people, the former arguing that it violates free speech and the latter that it discriminates against the poor as a class of people.
If the Safe Streets Act is overturned, not a single homeless person will be helped, but their well-heeled "friends" will be congratulating themselves about having torn down another neo-conservative Harris regime legacy.
Which in the end, is what this court challenge is about. The wastrel or lunatic on the corner of Yonge and Dundas couldn't care less about an empty legal right to beg; in their more lucid moments, they want off the streets and back into society.
The poor we will always have with us, but that's not an excuse to use them as a political weapon.
Source: Globe and Mail