Ticket halts business for homeless artist
Jamie Hogaboam has lived on the streets of downtown Winnipeg for two years.
He once drove a taxi, he’s worked as a courier, but a gambling addiction and severe depression left him broke and unable to work.
Hogaboam found an outlet making art.
He sold his prints on a bustling street corner in downtown Winnipeg, until a ticket from police changed his business plan.
Officers said Hogaboam would need to apply for a permit to sell his work, and pay the yearly fee for a $2 million general liability insurance policy.
“I felt a sense of pride that here's an artist trying to better himself and now that I’ve been sent back to being just a pan handler, it fells just really degrading,” said Hogaboam.
Hogaboam said he doesn’t have the means to get a city permit, and the John Howard Society of Manitoba agrees.
“It’s not just money, where do they send the license to,” said John Hutton, Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Manitoba.
“It’s not a good use of police resources to be handing out a ticket to someone who is homeless and has no capacity to pay the ticket,” said Hutton.
The city said there is no exception, Hogaboam’s considered a “mobile vendor” and needs a “use of street” permit to conduct business.
On average, the permit and fees cost $300, plus the cost of a license premium.
Hogaboam makes no more than $10 each day, selling art that number was 5 times higher.
He wants the city to come up with more affordable rules.
“I’m willing to get, buy a permit if you have a reasonable permit which would be sort of like a buskers license or something to sell artwork,” said Hogaboam.
Until then, Hogaboam said he’s left panhandling and not selling art for fear of being ticketed again.
The Downtown Winnipeg Biz said it is working with Hogaboam to find paying jobs and a place to stay.
He has a court appearance to discuss the loitering ticket in mid-October.