By Sahil Jaidka
Canadian pair Richard Turgeon and Serge Lareault of street paper L’Itineraire, believe they have a blueprint that will allow vendors to not just earn money, but also reintegrate into society.
Together, they have over 30 years experience working for the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) and revealed their system – if replicated globally – can change the world.
L’Itineraire provide not just a street paper for vendors to sell, but also other support such as a room to live in, care for those who need it and assist with filling-out paperwork for claiming benefits amongst other services.
The street paper which has operated for 17 years works with around 2,000 people a year and have 150 regular vendors on their records – and help improve the life of every single person that walks through their doors.
The INSP Chairperson and Publisher of L’Itineraire, Serge Lareault, knows that those who knock on a street-papers door need to be given all the support they can get – not just a paper to sell.
He said, “There is a reason why people are on the street, it may be due to education, housing, mental disease, drink problems – anything.
“We should provide not just a paper but the other things that people need too.
“Be it a carer to ensure they are taking medication, someone to help fill-out forms for claiming benefits, providing education, housing – anything they need we should be trying to give.
“Our society is not fair – not everyone has the same chance – but we should all be able to survive.
“It is up to us to provide them the services to make sure they can survive.
“We don’t just provide a paper for someone to make money from, we do more than that”.
Marketing & Communications Director, Richard Turgeon, described how this type of service can create not just recognition for the vendors, but a sense of identity and makes them more independent people.
He added: “When a person comes here with a problem, we work with them to help solve it.
“We let them sell the paper and after around six months, they get a chance to move into a room.
“This gives them an address and makes them feel rewarded and important.
“They will also get support from various people and this can make them improve as people.
“It will make them more autonomous and help them develop as people and move on in life.
“Although some countries already offer many other services – especially in Europe – if this was stretched worldwide, it could change the world”.