Happy 5th anniversary to Philadelphia street paper One Step Away

By Laura Smith

A street paper produced by homeless people and sold on the streets of Philadelphia has marked its five year anniversary by celebrating the real stars of the show: its vendors.

Since launching on 15 December 2009, roughly 650,000 copies of One Step Away have been sold by more than 1,700 homeless and unemployed people across the city.

Around 85 percent of One Step Away’s vendors rely on the paper for employment. They sell the publication for $1, keep 75 cents of each paper for themselves, and give 25 cents back to the paper to help cover printing costs for the next edition.

One Step Away vendor Jarred.

To celebrate its five-year milestone, One Step Away ran a special edition which took a trip down memory
lane to reflect on some of the paper’s highlights in the years since its

The editorial team also spoke to several One Step Away vendors to find out what selling the street paper meant to them.

One Step Away vendor Jocelyn.

“One Step Away made a difference in my life because One Step Away made
me realise that anybody can be one step away from being homeless,” said
vendor Jocelyn.

“I love working for One Step Away because we are changing people’s lives each and every day and also helping their needs.”

One Step Away vendor Ram.

For vendor Jarred, One step Away has been “the come up” in his life. His colleague Ram said that selling a street paper has given him “self-empowerment” and vendor Jayden added that One Step Away has given him “the chance to make a change in my life.”

For vendor Daniel, his job at the grassroots non-profit has given him a huge hand up in life too.

“One Step Away keeps me from begging in the street,” he said. “It employs me when no one else will give me a chance.”

One Step Away vendor Daniel.

So a big congratulations to the staff, writers and vendors of One Step Away on the milestone, and here’s to five more years of quality journalism that is helping to change lives straight from the streets of Philadelphia.

You can help celebrate street paper vendors like Jocelyn, Jarred, Ram, Jayden and Daniel around the
world by signing up for INSP’s Thunderclap during #VendorWeek 2015.

See below for more details.

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— INSP (@_INSP) December 13, 2014