MOVABLE FEAST DEBACLE HIGHLIGHTS DESPERATE PLIGHT OF LOCAL HOMELESSHundreds of barefooted locals went without food and drink at A Movable Feast on Bondi Beach recently and recreated a scene that is becoming all too common along the length and breadth of the Eastern Beaches.
A Movable Feast organisers failed to cater for the huge demand for basic food stuffs among hungry, impoverished locals, who can be seen queueing for hours outside local food outlets on a daily basis.
In scenes reminiscent of the Great Depression, shabbily dressed, exhausted, unkempt souls, without the funds to repair their jeans or buy a razor, flock to food distribution centres on weekday mornings, while the chosen few toil away in full time employment. Many stand beside the café, triumphantly clutching their prized beverage, the procurement of which has become a victory rather than a transaction.
Some patrons tread the familiar daily path with the same worn, beaten, reusable cup in which to receive their daily succour, and are on a first name basis with benevolent staff, trained to respect the dignity and needs of anyone dressed in a gender-neutral black and white striped t-shirt.
Many broken souls are forced to consume their daily bread atop a milk crate or a pre-school sized chair, while their caffeinated elixir perches perilously on a grossly undersized and wonky table. So dire is the situation that some patrons have actually resorted to seating themselves on the footpath, without so much as a blanket protecting them from the hard, cold, unforgiving pavement.
A trip down Clovelly Road will also reveal hordes of believers yearning for a miracle of loaves and fishes from out of the blue.
Further evidence of the severity of this issue is the presence of children and dogs at most cafes. Malnourished, starving kids and canines whine, complain, bark, cry and throw tantrums as their parents stand nearby with their ears glued to the phone, either on hold with Centrelink or the local council as they await the verdict on the DA for the second renovation of their humble waterfront shelter.
Local councils are sentient of the issue. They have promised to strike a balance between removing pavement squatters, who are accused of lowering the tone of suburbs, while respecting people’s rights to attend to their most basic needs. They have also reminded residents that no action can be taken until overworked rangers finish clearing away the bodies of slaughtered backpackers.
Politicians on both sides have also committed to stimulating the local economy through large scale infrastructure projects such as light rail, underground car parks and the redevelopment of Bondi Pavilion, which they resolutely assert will rival the splendour of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Meanwhile, locals continue to wait.