Transcript: Cathy Crowe: Memoirs of a Street Nurse | Jan 08, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and spotted purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "Memoirs of a street nurse. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says EVERY DAY, THOUSANDS
OF PEOPLE IN THIS PROSPEROUS
PROVINCE OF OURS FACE POVERTY
AND HOMELESSNESS.
AND WHILE THAT MAY BE HIDDEN
FROM SIGHT FOR MANY, IT HAS BEEN
IN PLAIN VIEW OF OUR NEXT GUEST
FOR DECADES.
CATHY CROWE IS A STREET NURSE.
SHE HAS SPENT DECADES FIGHTING
FOR THOSE ON THE MARGINS.
HER NEW BOOK IS CALLED "A
KNAPSACK FULL OF DREAMS: MEMOIRS
OF A STREET NURSE."
IT IS VITAL READING AND IT
BRINGS CATHY CROWE TO OUR STUDIO TONIGHT.

Cathy is in her fifties, with short blond hair and bangs. She's wearing a gray jacket and a colourful bead necklace.
A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover features pictures of dozens of lapel pins with different messages.

Steve continues SO GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

Cathy says YOU TOO.
THANK YOU.

Steve says HOW ARE YOU THESE
DAYS?

Cathy says GOOD.
VERY GOOD.

Steve says I WANT TO START WITH
A VERY SIMPLE QUESTION: WHAT'S A
STREET NURSE?

The caption changes to "Cathy Crowe. Author, 'A knapsack full of dreams."
Then, it changes again to "A different kind of nursing."

Cathy says OKAY.
WELL, A STREET NURSE IS A NURSE
THAT REALLY SPECIALIZES IN
PROVIDING HEALTH CARE TO PEOPLE
THAT ARE HOMELESS, AND THE TERM
WAS ACTUALLY COINED BY A
HOMELESS GUY OVER 30 YEARS AGO.
HE YELLED OUT TO US ONE DAY:
HEY, STREET NURSE!
AND IT WAS A COMPLIMENT.
SO WE HAVE USED THE NAME EVER
SINCE.

Steve says AND YOU'RE OKAY TO
BE CALLED THAT.

Cathy says VERY MUCH SO, YEAH.

Steve says OKAY.
YOUR BOOK, FIRST OF ALL, IS
FASCINATING READING AND EIGHTS
HARROWING READING FROM TIME TO
TIME.
I DO WANT TO READ ONE EXCERPT
HERE ABOUT SOME OF YOUR DEALINGS
WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF
HOMELESSNESS IN THIS PROVINCE.
SHELDON, LET'S BRING THIS
GRAPHIC UP, AND HERE WE GO.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "." The quote reads "My nurse hands once did more useful things. They immunized the fat, healthy thighs of infants, they carefully measured cardiac drugs to administer to young heart patients, they bathed both the elderly lady after her surgery and the 24-year-old Italian Canadian woman after her death.
Now they carry a black bag into streets, alleyways, and ravines. The bandages I carry no longer cover the wounds of my patients. My vitamins will not prevent the white plague of tuberculosis from taking another victim. I cannot even help someone achieve one peaceful night of safety and sleep. Only roofs will do that. And I am not a carpenter."
Quoted from Cathy Crowe, "A knapsack full of dreams." 2019.

Steve says CATHY, THERE IS A
LEVEL OF FRUSTRATION THAT
EMERGES FROM THAT QUOTE THAT NO
DOUBT YOU HAVE EARNED THANKS TO
DECADES OF TRYING TO MAKE
PROGRESS ON THIS ISSUE.

Cathy says MM-HMM.

Steve says DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE?

Cathy says UM, NOT RIGHT NOW, ACTUALLY,
NO.
I MEAN, WE'VE HAD MANY SUCCESSES
AND VICTORIES.
YOU KNOW, A NEW FEDERAL
HOMELESSNESS PROGRAM, LOTS OF
SHELTER OPENINGS.
BUT EVERYTHING'S WORSE SINCE
WHEN I BEGAN 30 YEARS AGO.

Steve says EVERYTHING IS WORSE
SINCE YOU BEGAN?

Cathy says YEAH, PRETTY MUCH.
I MEAN, THERE'S A FEW INNOVATIVE
NEW PROGRAMS AROUND TUBERCULOSIS
AND THINGS LIKE THAT, BUT THERE
ARE TRIPLE THE NUMBER OF
HOMELESS PEOPLE THAN WHEN I
STARTED.
IT'S A CRISIS ACROSS THE
COUNTRY.
THERE ARE NOW ENCAMPMENTS.
IT'S NOW NORMAL TO SEE TENTS ON
TORONTO MAIN STREETS, IN
PETERBOROUGH, KINGSTON.
SO IT'S A DARK TIME.

Steve says HOW DO YOU
PERSONALLY DEAL WITH... YOU
KNOW, I'VE KNOWN YOU FOR A LONG
TIME.
I REMEMBER WHEN YOU RAN FOR
OFFICE A COUPLE OF TIMES.
YOU SEEM A FAIRLY UPBEAT PERSON,
CONSIDERING ALL OF WHAT YOU HAVE
TO DEAL WITH.
HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

The caption changes to "Cathy Crowe, @cathyacrowe."

Cathy says I MOSTLY AM.
I'M MOSTLY OPTIMISTIC.
I RELY ON REALLY CLOSE
COLLEAGUES WHO BECAME BEST
FRIENDS WHO HELPED ME KIND OF
STRATEGIZE TO FIGURE OUT, OKAY,
EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE RIGHT
NOW.
WHAT CAN WE STILL DO?
WHAT'S YOUR NEXT CREATIVE
STRATEGY?
AND THEN, YOU KNOW, THERE'S
PERSONAL THINGS.
I'VE GOT GRANDCHILDREN AND, YOU
KNOW, AS YOU KNOW, I LOVE
BASEBALL AND THINGS LIKE THAT.
BUT IT IS A... IT IS AN
OVERWHELMING TIME RIGHT NOW,
THIS WINTER IN PARTICULAR.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says CAN YOU TAKE US
BACK?
YOUR FIRST NURSING JOB.
WHAT WAS IT.

Cathy says OH, SURE.
I WAS IN CARDIOLOGY AT TORONTO
GENERAL HOSPITAL, NOW CALLED
UNIVERSITY HEALTH NETWORK, AND I
LOVED IT.

Steve says WHAT DID YOU LIKE
ABOUT IT?

Cathy says IT WAS EXCITING.
IT WAS CUTTING EDGE.
THERE WAS A LOT OF
EXPERIMENTATION.

Steve says THERE WAS A LOT OF
CUTTING TOO.

Cathy says YES.
YES.
WE WERE SEEING NEW TRENDS AND
ISSUES IN CARDIAC DISEASE THAT
WERE NOW BEING TREATED THANKS
TO, YOU KNOW, PENICILLIN, FOR
EXAMPLE.
SO IT WAS VERY EXCITING.

Steve says HOW AND WHEN DID YOU
MAKE THE TRANSITION TO BECOMING
A STREET NURSE?

Cathy says I ENDED UP GOING FROM THE
HOSPITAL TO BAY STREET, WHICH
WAS STRANGE.
THAT WAS BECAUSE OF THE CARDIAC
CONNECTION WITH CARDIAC
STRESS-TESTING OF EXECUTIVES.
AND THEN I WENT TO... AND THEN
THE DOCTORS THERE WERE EXTRA
BILLING AT THE TIME, AND THEY
WANTED ME TO ALSO EXTRA BILL
ABOVE OHIP, SO THAT WAS BEFORE
EXTRA BILLING WAS ALLOWED.
SO PHYSICIANS COULD CHARGE ABOVE
AND BEYOND OHIP.
A LOT OF MONEY FOR SOME TYPES OF
HEALTH CARE, AND I DIDN'T WANT
TO DO THAT, AND I FELT THIS
WASN'T THE NORM.
THIS WASN'T WHAT I EXPECTED
HEALTH CARE TO BE ABOUT.
SO I SAW AN AD IN THE NEWSPAPER
FOR SOUTH RIVERDALE COMMUNITY
HEALTH CENTRE.
I APPLIED.
I WALKED AROUND THE
NEIGHBORHOOD.
GOT THE JOB.
I THINK BECAUSE I WALKED AROUND
THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
AND I'VE BEEN IN THAT SECTOR FOR
A LONG, LONG TIME.
AND THEN I MOVED TO STREET
HEALTH, A LITTLE ORGANIZATION
THAT HAD JUST GOTTEN FUNDING
FROM MINISTER ELEANOR KAPLAN,
WHO WAS MINISTER OF HEALTH, AND
I WAS THE SECOND NURSE HIRED.
BUT I WENT THERE MORE BECAUSE OF
THE NURSING MODEL AS OPPOSED TO
THINKING I WANTED TO LOOK AFTER
HOMELESS PEOPLE.
I HAD KIND OF ALL THE
STEREOTYPES THAT PEOPLE STILL
MIGHT HAVE.

Steve says DID YOU HAVE WHAT
YOU MIGHT DESCRIBE AS A KIND OF
A BIT OF A NAIVE BACKGROUND AS
IT RELATED TO ALL OF THE MISERY
YOU WOULD SOON COME TO SEE?

Cathy says ABSOLUTELY.
I GREW UP IN COBOURG AND
KINGSTON.
IN MY WHOLE LIFE, I HAD NEVER
REALLY CONSIDERED THE ISSUES
AROUND HOMELESSNESS.
I WAS CONSTANTLY SHOCKED.
I TELL ONE STORY ABOUT...
WONDERING WHY SO MANY PEOPLE HAD
MARITIME ACCENTS AT SHERBURN AND
DUNDAS.
SEEING A MAN, I FORGET THE EXACT
NAME, HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN WEARING
A SHIRT THAT HAD THE NAME JIM ON
IT BUT HIS NAME WAS BILL OR
SOMETHING NOT REALIZING HE GOT
THAT SHIRT IN THE CLOTHING
DONATION ROOM.
I WAS VERY, VERY NAIVE.

Steve says YOU'VE HAD A HECK OF
AN EDUCATION SINCE.

Cathy says I HAVE.
THAT'S WHY I'VE STUCK WITH IT,
OVER 30 YEARS.
EVERY DAY SOMETHING NEW TO
LEARN.
A NEW CHALLENGE, SOMETHING NEW
TO LEARN.

Steve says YOU DISCUSS IN YOUR
BOOK THE FALLOUT OF HOMELESSNESS
CARE WHEN SOMETHING CALLED THE
NATIONAL HOUSING PROGRAM OF
CANADA WAS CANCELLED IN THE
1990s.

Cathy says MM-HMM.

Steve says WHAT WERE CANADIANS
LOSING WHEN THIS WAS HAPPENING?

The caption changes to "Looking upstream to the Federal Government."

Cathy says WE WERE LOSING A NATIONAL
PROGRAM SIMILAR TO MEDICARE, YOU
KNOW, A FULLY FUNDED PROGRAM
THAT HAD PARTICIPATION BY THE
PROVINCES WHERE WE WERE, AS A
COUNTRY, BUILDING 20,000 NEW
UNITS A YEAR ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
HOUSING FOR SENIORS.
HOUSING FOR STUDENTS.
CO-OP HOUSING.
HOUSING FOR FAMILIES AND
CHILDREN.
SUPPORTIVE HOUSING.
AND I WAS A STREET NURSE AT THE
TIME AT SHERBURN AND DUNDAS,
DOWNTOWN TORONTO, WHEN THE
PROGRAM WAS CUT.
THERE WERE NO PROTESTS, THERE
WERE NO ACTIVISTS AROUND IT.

Steve says WHY WAS IT CUT?

Cathy says WELL, IT WAS CUT IN TWO
STAGES BY TWO FEDERAL
GOVERNMENTS.
AND PRESUMABLY... I MEAN, IT'S
THOUGHT THAT IT WAS CUT... PART
OF A PERIOD OF RETRACTION FROM
FUNDING SOCIAL PROGRAMS.
CORPORATE TAX CUTS INSTEAD.
OTHER DECISIONS THAT WERE BEING
MADE.
AND I HOPE THAT I THINK THE
PRIVATE SECTOR WOULD PICK UP THE
SLACK, WHICH WAS NOT THE CASE.

Steve says I DO REMEMBER JIM
FLAHERTY, MAY HE REST IN PEACE,
THE FEDERAL FINANCE MINISTER AT
THE TIME, SAYING, ACTUALLY, IF
YOU LOOK AT THE CONSTITUTION,
THERE'S NO OBLIGATION BY THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO FUND
SOCIAL HOUSING.
THAT IS A PROVINCIAL
RESPONSIBILITY.
AND THUS, I THINK FROM A
STRICTLY TECHNICAL
CONSTITUTIONAL POINT OF VIEW, HE
FELT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
OUGHT NOT TO BE IN THAT
BUSINESS.
I MEAN, HE'S NOT WRONG IN THAT
RESPECT, IS HE?

Cathy says I'VE HEARD THAT AS WELL.
AND I THINK A PIECE OF GOOD NEWS
NOW IS THAT WE NOW HAVE A
NATIONAL HOUSING ACT AND HOUSING
IS BACK ON THE AGENDA.
IT'S NOT A FULLY FUNDED PROGRAM,
BUT IT'S BACK.
YOU KNOW, AND CONSTITUTIONAL
LAWYERS HAVE ARGUED ABOUT THIS.
IT'S HARD TO NOT IMAGINE IT
BEING A RESPONSIBILITY, GIVEN
EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS THE
IMPORTANCE OF IT TO THEIR LIVES.

Steve says DO WE HAVE ANYTHING
CLOSE TO A NATIONAL HOUSING
STRATEGY TODAY?

Cathy says WELL, MANY PEOPLE THINK SO,
BUT I DON'T.
AND I POINT TO THE EVIDENCE IN
THE SKY.
IN TORONTO, WE'VE HAD A NATIONAL
HOUSING STRATEGY FOR A COUPLE OF
YEARS NOW.
IT IS HELPING A FEW COMMUNITIES
ACROSS THE COUNTRY, BUT THERE'S
NOT ONE CRANE IN THE SKY IN
DOWNTOWN TORONTO THAT'S BUILDING
SOCIAL HOUSING.

Steve says ARE YOU SURE ABOUT
THAT?
I GO AROUND THE CITY AND I SEE
150... I SEE MORE CRANES IN THE
SKY IN THIS CITY THAN ANY OTHER
CITY IN NORTH AMERICA.

Cathy says I'M SURE ABOUT IT.

Steve says THERE'S NO SOCIAL
HOUSING?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Cathy says THERE'S ONE TRANSITION
PROGRAM CALLED EGALE FOR LGBT
YOUTH THAT'S UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
THE CRANE IS GONE RIGHT NOW.
IT'S UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
THAT'S A FACT.
BOTH OTTAWA AND TORONTO
COUNCILLORS, CITY COUNCILLORS,
ARE LOOKING AT DECLARATIONS OF
EMERGENCY BY THEIR CITY
COUNCILLORS BECAUSE THEY'RE NOW
REALIZING OUR CITIES ARE NOT
DOING WELL WITH THIS NATIONAL
HOUSING STRATEGY.

Steve says WHAT WOULD A
DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY
ACTUALLY DO?

Cathy says WELL, I THINK IT CAN LEVERAGE
RESOURCES AT THE CITY LEVEL AND
IT CAN BE A HUGE CRY FOR HELP BY
A MUNICIPALITY.

Steve says I WANT TO PUT A
PICTURE UP NOW... WELL,
ACTUALLY, I'M GOING TO ASK OUR
DIRECTOR, SHELBY LISK, TO DO IT,
BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE ANY BUTTONS
OUT THERE.
YOU RECOGNIZE THE FELLOW IN THAT
PICTURE, DON'T YOU?

A black and white picture shows Cathy standing next to a gray-haired, middle-aged man who speaks into a microphone.

Cathy says OH, SURE.

Steve says THAT'S OF COURSE
JACK LAYTON, THE FORMER NDP
LEADER, FORMER CITY COUNCILLOR.
WHAT'S GOING ON THERE?

Cathy says THIS IS A PARTY, A
CELEBRATION DAY.
AFTER THE TENT CITY RESIDENTS ON
THE TORONTO WATERFRONT, ABOUT
140 OF THEM HAD BEEN EVICTED,
AND THIS WAS A CELEBRATION HELD
I BELIEVE AT WOODGREEN COMMUNITY
CENTRE WHERE WE'RE CELEBRATING
THE FACT THAT THEY'RE NOW ALL IN
HOUSING.
THEY WON HOUSING.
AND JACK WAS PIVOTAL TO THE WORK
WE DID AT TENT CITY.

The caption changes to "Remembering 'Tent city.'"

Steve says WHAT WERE THE
CONDITIONS AT TENT CITY LIKE?

Cathy says OH, BOY.
WELL, I DESCRIBE THEM AS BEING
LIKE INNER CITY REFUGE CAMP
CONDITIONS.
INITIALLY IT WAS TENTS AND
TRAILERS AND TARPS AND IT WAS
BRUTAL, AND I WAS INVOLVED FOR
THREE YEARS WITH TORONTO
DISASTER RELIEF COMMITTEE.
WE BROUGHT IN... WE BROUGHT IN
WOOD STOVES.
PEOPLE BUILT HOUSES.
WE BROUGHT IN PREFAB HOUSES.
AN ARCHITECT ACTUALLY BUILT A
MODEL WITH SOME OF THE GUYS.
PORTABLE TOILETS.
THAT WAS THE FILE I WAS
RESPONSIBLE FOR, WHICH WAS VERY
HARD.
SO IT GREW TO THE POINT THAT
THERE WERE NO TENTS AFTER A
POINT.
THERE WERE ABOUT 53 SHACKS OR
HOUSES.
GENERATORS.
AT ONE POINT, WITH JACK'S HELP
AND SOME UNION WORKERS, PLUGGED
INTO ELECTRICITY AND WATER AT
ONE POINT, BUT THEN THAT GOT CUT
OFF.
IT WAS VERY ROUGH.
VERY COLD.
IN THE WINTERS.
BUT THERE WAS A STRONG SPIRIT,
ESPECIALLY OF ACTIVISM BY SOME
OF THE RESIDENTS.

Steve says AND WHAT ACTUALLY...
LIKE, WHAT WAS THE CONFLUENCE OF
EVENTS THAT CAME TOGETHER THAT
EVENTUALLY FOUND A SOLUTION TO
THIS PROBLEM?

Cathy says IT WAS QUITE OUTSTANDING.
WE WERE ALWAYS WORRIED ABOUT
HARASSMENT AND... THIS WAS ON
HOME DEPOT LAND.
WHAT HAPPENED WAS OUT OF THE
BLUE, THE EVICTION HAPPENED.
I PERSONALLY GOT A 30-MINUTE
WARNING BY ADAM VAUGHAN, WHO WAS
THEN A JOURNALIST...

Steve says NOW A MEMBER OF
PARLIAMENT.

Cathy says NOW A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT.
MY MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT,
ACTUALLY.
SO PEOPLE POURED DOWN THERE TO
PROVIDE SUPPORT AND THERE WAS A
PRESS CONFERENCE AND WE WENT TO
CITY HALL.
ONE THING LED TO ANOTHER.
AND AN EMERGENCY SHELTER HAD TO
BE OPENED THAT NIGHT FOR PEOPLE.
AND IT LED TO A VERY SIGNIFICANT
PROGRAM.
IT WAS CALLED A PILOT RENT
SUPPLEMENT PROGRAM THAT BECAME A
PRECURSOR FOR PROGRAMS THAT THE
CITY OF TORONTO AND OTHER CITIES
NOW RELY ON, WHICH IS TOPPING UP
SOMEBODY'S INCOME SO THEY CAN
AFFORD RENT.
SO EVENTUALLY, WORKERS WORKED
WITH THE FOLKS.
THEY ALL GOT INTO HOUSING.
AND MOSTLY STAYED IN THE
HOUSING.
SOME PEOPLE HAD TO MOVE BECAUSE
OF, YOU KNOW, CRISIS IN THE
HOUSING, BED BUGS AND THINGS
LIKE THAT.
BUT DRY, FOR EXAMPLE, WHO IS
AMAZING, IS IN THE VERY FIRST
APARTMENT HE MOVED INTO.

Steve says THAT WAS A WIN FOR
YOU.

Cathy says THAT WAS A HUGE WIN.
PEOPLE GAINED WEIGHT.
SOME PEOPLE WENT BACK TO SCHOOL.
SOME PEOPLE GOT CONNECTED TO
FAMILY.
AND NOBODY SAID, "HEY, I WANT TO
LIVE ON THE STREET.
TAKE ME BACK THERE."
NOBODY SAID THAT.

Steve says YOU KNOW, THERE'S...
YOU TALK ABOUT IT THE BOOK SO I
KNOW YOU KNOW ABOUT IT,
SOMETHING CALLED HOUSING FIRST.
IT'S HAD A LOT OF PLAUDITS OVER
THE YEARS OF HAVING DONE GOOD
WORK TO GET PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN
THE STREETS OFF THE STREETS.
WHAT'S YOUR VIEW OF HOUSING
FIRST?

The caption changes to "Housing first."

Cathy says SO, I MEAN, JUST TO PREFACE
MY COMMENTS, WE'VE ALWAYS
BELIEVED IN HOUSING FIRST FOR
PEOPLE AS OPPOSED TO SHELTER,
BUT THERE JUST HASN'T BEEN
HOUSING FOR PEOPLE TO GO TO.
ESSENTIALLY IT'S AN AMERICAN
MODEL, IMPORTED INTO CANADA.
IT'S NOW FEDERAL, PROVINCIAL,
CITY POLICY.
BUT MY PROBLEM WITH IT IS THAT
IT PRIORITIZES PEOPLE WITH
ADDICTION AND MENTAL HEALTH
ISSUES.
SO IT'S NOT REALLY HOUSING FOR
ALL.
AND IT'S ALSO ABOUT REMOVING THE
VISIBLE HOMELESS FROM THE
STREET.
SO ESSENTIALLY YOU HAVE TO BE ON
THE STREET TO ACCESS THE PROGRAM
WITH, YOU KNOW, A FEW
EXCEPTIONS.
IT LOOKS A LITTLE DIFFERENT
ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
BUT THE BOTTOM LINE IS, THERE
HASN'T BEEN HOUSING FOR PEOPLE
TO GO INTO.
SO IT'S KIND OF LOOKED LIKE WE
HAVE A NATIONAL HOUSING PROGRAM,
BUT WE REALLY DON'T.
IT'S KIND OF LIKE THIS PIECEMEAL
PROGRAM THAT HAS HELPED SOME
PEOPLE, BUT IT'S NOT HOUSING FOR
FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN, IT'S NOT
HOUSING FOR SENIORS, IT'S NOT
HOUSING FOR PEOPLE WHO MIGHT
HAVE CANCER AND BE IN A SHELTER.
IT'S VERY TARGETED.
AND HONESTLY, THE U.N.
RAPPORTEUR ON HOUSING RECENTLY
SAID THE WORST THING SHE HAS
SEEN IS THE AMERICAN CITIES IN
CALIFORNIA, AND I POINT TO THAT
TO SAY, I THINK WE'RE HEADED IN
THAT DIRECTION, WHICH IS POOR,
WHICH IS PARKING LOTS BEING
ALLOCATED FOR FAMILIES WITH
CHILDREN IN CARS.
AND THAT'S HOUSING FIRST IN THE
UNITED STATES.
AND HOW IS IT LOOKING HERE?
WELL, WITH THE RARE EXCEPTION,
IT'S WORSE ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
HOMELESSNESS IS WORSE.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says DO YOU HAVE MORE
HOPE, GIVEN THE ANNOUNCEMENT
MADE LAST MONTH BY THE MAYOR OF
TORONTO, JOHN TORY, TO, YOU
KNOW, PRETTY SIGNIFICANTLY
INCREASE THE PROPERTY TAXES OF
THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE
CAPITAL CITY OF THIS PROVINCE IN
ORDER TO BUILD MORE HOUSING?

The caption changes to "A better tomorrow."

Cathy says VERY PLEASED WITH THE
PROPERTY TAX INCREASE OR LEVY,
AS IT'S CALLED.
YEAH.
I THINK WE HAVE A FEW CONCERNS
ABOUT IT.
AFFORDABILITY IS NOT DEFINED.
A FEW OTHER KEY INSTRUMENTS ARE
NOT IN THE PLAN BUT ARE GOING TO
COME.
MY WORRY IS THAT IT... IT TAKES
THREE TO FIVE YEARS, RIGHT, TO
GET A PROJECT UP AND GOING.
WHAT DO WE DO IN THE MEANTIME?
SO WE'RE DEFINITELY HEADED IN
THE RIGHT DIRECTION, AND I THINK
PEOPLE WILL BE SUPPORTING THAT.
BUT I HAVE A BIG BUT.
LIKE WHAT HAPPENS IN THE
MEANTIME.
IT ALSO MAKES A VERY STRONG
STATEMENT, WHICH IS A HOUSING
FIRST STATEMENT IN THE REPORT,
THAT ONCE THEY REACH THEIR 1,000
SHELTER TARGET, THEY WON'T PUT
ANY MORE MONEY INTO SHELTERS.
AND WE STILL... FOR MANY, MANY
YEARS, ARE GOING TO NEED A MASS
INFUSION OF MONEY INTO SHELTERS.
RIGHT NOW WE'RE RELYING ON,
LIKE, SOCCER DOME TYPE... YOU
KNOW, SPRUNG STRUCTURES, THEY'RE
CALLED, WHERE WE'RE SHELTERING
PEOPLE THAT ARE... THEY REALLY
LOOK LIKE POST HURRICANE KATRINA
EMERGENCY SITES.

Steve says YOU RAN FOR OFFICE TWICE.

Cathy says I DID.

Steve says YOU RAN FOR THE
NDP... I'M TRYING TO REMEMBER
WHICH ELECTIONS NOW.
I CAN'T REMEMBER THE YEARS.

Cathy says 2010 AND '11, I THINK.

Steve says WAS IT ONCE
FEDERALLY AND ONE PROVINCIALLY?

Cathy says BOTH PROVINCIALLY.

Steve says BOTH PROVINCIALLY,
OKAY.

Cathy says YEAH.

Steve says 2011 WAS AN ELECTION
YEAR PROVINCIALLY.

Cathy says MM-HMM.
2010 WAS A BY-ELECTION.

Steve says OH, IT WAS A
BY-ELECTION.

Cathy says SMITHERMAN HAD RESIGNED.

Steve says WHAT DID YOU LEARN
IN THAT CASE WHEN YOU WERE
RUNNING FOR OFFICE ABOUT THE
POSSIBILITIES OF POLITICS TO
SOLVE THE PROBLEMS THAT YOU LIVE
EVERYDAY AS A STREET NURSE?

Cathy says I THINK THERE ARE HUGE
POSSIBILITIES.
I ENJOYED VERY MUCH THE
DOOR-KNOCKING AND SEEING THE
CONDITIONS AND REALLY HAVE
ENCOURAGED MANY OTHERS TO DO
THAT ASPECT OF VOLUNTEERING IN
THE FUTURE.
I THINK IT'S HUGE.
BUT I THINK YOU NEED BRAVE
LEADERSHIP, AND WE'VE SEEN THAT
IN THE PAST ON SOME ISSUES,
RIGHT?
AND I JUST FELT... I WAS
UNEMPLOYED AT THE TIME I RAN AND
JACK LAYTON TALKED ME INTO IT,
ACTUALLY.

Steve says WE SHOULD POINT OUT,
THAT'S AMAZING.
GIVEN THE WORK THAT YOU DID IN
NURSING, ON THE STREETS, UNDER
THE MOST DIRE OF CIRCUMSTANCES,
AND THEN YOU SUDDENLY SOMEHOW
FOUND YOURSELF UNEMPLOYED.

Cathy says MM-HMM.

Steve says LIKE, WHY?
HOW CAN THAT BE POSSIBLE GIVEN
ALL OF YOUR EXPERIENCE?

Cathy says WELL, I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST A
BLIP BUT IT LASTED FOUR YEARS,
ACTUALLY.
AND MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW, I'M
ONLY, THROUGH WRITING THIS KIND
OF MADE IT PUBLIC, BECAUSE I
KEPT DOING ALL THE WORK.
I WAS CONSTANTLY STILL DOING THE
SAME WORK.
YOU KNOW, TWO OF MY BEST FRIENDS
APPROACHED ME SEPARATELY AND
SAID, "YOU'RE BLACK-LISTED."
AND I WAS TOLD THAT BY SOME OF
THE PLACES WHERE I INTERVIEWED,
PLACES THAT I HAD WORKED BEFORE
EVEN.

Steve says YOU ARE A WELL-KNOWN
S-DISTURBER, IF I CAN PUT IT
THAT WAY.

Cathy says EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS REALLY
SAID OUR FUNDING COULD BE
THREATENED IF WE HAVE YOU HERE.
AND IT'S ONE OF THE REASONS I
STILL DO THE SPEAKING OUT,
BECAUSE MANY OF THE... THERE'S A
WHOLE GROUP OF YOUNGER STREET
NURSES OUT THERE NOW, SOME OF
WHOM I MENTOR, WHICH I'M REALLY
HAPPY ABOUT.
THEY'RE NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK
OUT.

Steve says I MEAN, I LOOK AT
YOU... YOU'RE WEARING THE ORDER
OF CANADA.

Cathy says I AM.

Steve says YOU'VE GOT THE ORDER
OF CANADA AND YOU'RE BLACKLISTED
FROM GETTING NURSING JOBS IN
HEALTH CARE CENTRES OR
HOSPITALS.
THAT SEEMS CRAZY.

Cathy says YEAH, IT'S PRETTY... I MEAN,
SO I HAD TO WRITE ABOUT IT.
YEAH.
AND BECAUSE YOUNGER STUDENTS ARE
CONSTANTLY COMING TO ME AND
ASKING ME ABOUT MY WORK AND WHAT
I WAS DOING.
SO I STILL FELT VALUED.
SO THAT WAS VERY HELPFUL.
AND IT TELLS A STORY.

Steve says YOU DO.
AND YOU'VE BEEN AT RYERSON FOR
THE LAST MANY YEARS, RIGHT?

Cathy says YES.

Steve says WHAT ARE YOU DOING
AT RYERSON.

Cathy says THEY HAVE A DISTINGUISHED
VISITING PROFESSOR PROGRAM.
I'M A DISTINGUISHED VISITING
PRACTITIONER, AND IT'S BECAUSE
OF...

Steve says HE'S THE PRESIDENT.

Cathy says YES, PAST PRESIDENT.
SO THEY ASKED ME WHAT I WANTED
TO DO.
AND I SAID I WANT TO WORK WITH
STUDENTS FROM ALL BACKGROUNDS ON
HOUSING AND HOMELESS ISSUES.
SO THAT'S WHAT I DO.
I MOSTLY TAKE THEM OUT OF
CLASSES FOR DIFFERENT
PROFESSORS, JOURNALISM,
BUSINESS, CRIMINOLOGY, AND I
TAKE THEM OUT TO SEE REAL-LIFE
EXPERIENCES.
I TAKE THEM TO CITY HALL.
THEY MEET THE MAYOR.
CITY COUNCILLORS.
WATCH COMMITTEES.
HOMELESS MEMORIAL.
OTHER EVENTS.
WE DO WALKS THROUGH THE NEWLY
REDEVELOPED REGENT PARK.
SO IT DEPENDS ON WHAT'S GOING ON
IN THE CITY, WHAT WE DO.
AND THEN I HELP TO COORDINATE
THE JACK LAYTON SCHOOL FOR YOUTH
LEADERSHIP, WHICH HAPPENS
USUALLY ABOUT TWICE A YEAR
DURING READING WEEK.
AND ANYONE CAN USE ME ACROSS THE
UNIVERSITY.
SO MASTERS STUDENTS, PROFESSORS.
SO I GET TO STILL BE INVOLVED
AND ENGAGED AND DOING ADVOCACY
FROM MY ALMA MATER, RYERSON.

Steve says THAT'S GREAT.
I'VE GOT TO ASK YOU ONE LAST
KIND OF WEIRD QUESTION, OKAY?
I READ THE BOOK AND EVERY
CHAPTER STARTS WITH A MOVIE
REVIEW.
NOW, THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT
MASSIVE DESTRUCTION AND EVERY
CHAPTER STARTS WITH A MOVIE
REVIEW.

Cathy says MM-HMM.

Steve says WHY DID YOU DO THAT?

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Cathy says YEAH.
WELL, SO, MOVIES HAVE INSPIRED
ME.
IT WAS THE MOVIE "IF YOU LOVE
THIS PLANET..."

Steve says HELEN CALDICOTT.

Cathy says AND THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR WAR
THAT MADE ME AN ACTIVIST
ON OTHER ISSUES.
SO THROUGHOUT MY LIFE PERSONALLY
I'VE TURNED TO MOVIES FOR
INSPIRATION.
AND YOU'LL KNOW THAT THERE ARE A
COUPLE OF POST APOCALYPTIC FILMS
THAT INTRODUCE THE DARKEST
PERIOD OF MY WORK AROUND
HOMELESSNESS.
SO, I GREW UP WITH MOVIES.
I'VE MADE MOVIES.

Steve says YES, YOU HAVE.
AND SHELLEY MADE A DOCUMENTARY
ABOUT YOU.

Cathy says SO THEY'VE BEEN A THEME
THROUGHOUT MY LIFE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Colin Ellis, @ColinEllis81. Student Intern: Justin Bellmore."

Steve says TERRIFIC.
WELL, WE ARE HAPPY TO PUT BEFORE
THE PUBLIC'S ATTENTION "A
KNAPSACK FULL OF DREAMS: MEMOIRS
OF A STREET NURSE" WHICH HAS
BROUGHT CATHY CROWE TO OUR
STUDIO TONIGHT AND WE'RE VERY
GRATEFUL FOR YOUR TIME.

Cathy says THANK YOU SO MUCH.
IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE.

Watch: Cathy Crowe: Memoirs of a Street Nurse