Liceulice’s Anica Klepo on shielding during the pandemic, speaking up for the rights of disabled people, and finally being able to sell the street paper again

Anica was starting to hit her stride as a Liceulice vendor when the pandemic hit. Then came fourteen and a half months in isolation: Anica lives in a retirement home, as she needs supported accommodation, and had to isolate to protect the other residents. Now that she can get out into the world again, Anica hopes to leave the retirement home for her own living space. She is also hopeful that other people with disabilities will raise their voices along with hers in a world that often ignores them.

A snapshot of street papers in Latin America

The regional work of INSP has increased dramatically since the first lockdown as solidarity and connection have become more important than ever. That has overwhelmingly been the case in Latin America, as INSP’s tight knit group of publications have battled through adversity to continue their work. This is an overview of the region’s street papers.

Big Issue Taiwan’s Mei-yu Lan: “I won’t stop selling the street paper as long as my customers need me”

Mei-yu Lan sells The Big Issue Taiwan from her pitch at the IKEA Taipei City Shop Arena. She has been working as a vendor since the launch of the magazine 13 years ago and is part of the community where she works. She is a straightforward woman who believes in treating people right; it’s led to her building a large customer base. It’s these loyal customers who keep her motivated.

Home is where the art is: How Düsseldorf street paper fiftyfifty turns paintings, prints and photographs into permanent shelter

A unique Housing First effort in Düsseldorf combines art, newspapers and advocacy to pair the unhoused with apartments. The brainchild of the city’s street paper fiftyfifty, revenues from sales of works by famous artists are used to buy apartments for those who need them most.

Surprise reader: “Social problems don’t get solved by staying silent about them”

Regular street paper readers will recognise the long running technique of profiling a street paper vendor. Swiss magazine Surprise has chosen to reverse the perspective. Urs Habegger (65), who works as a Surprise vendor in Rapperswil, provides a portrait of one of his regular customers. Katharina Hiller is a pastor; here, she reflects on her path towards the religious life and on the importance of giving voice to social issues.

Raising awareness about camps, sweeps and displacement in the United States

In recent months, cities and states across the United States have dramatically increased their efforts to sweep and displace homeless encampments and to criminalize people on the streets. A series of posters as part of the nation-wide campaign ‘Housekeys Not Sweeps’, led by the Western Regional Advocacy Project, is raising awareness and combating criminalization efforts and anti-homeless legislation occurring across the country.

For people living in poverty, getting an abortion was already hard. It’s about to get harder

As the US repeals Roe v. Wade and rolls back abortion rights, Washington DC street paper Street Sense covers what effect this will have on those on the margins, highlighting the already significant barriers that poor people have to obtaining healthcare, especially those seeking an abortion.

Housing for the People: “Tennessee’s anti-homelessness law feels like someone ripping our collective hearts out”

Tennessee is Vicky Batcher’s home, and it is a place she is witnessing turn against people who don’t have shelter and must make their home on the street, a position she knows all too well from past experience. In the latest in INSP’s Housing for the People column, she writes about the jarring experience of seeing the place you live criminalize homeless people – people Vicky has a kinship with – as Tennessee will do with the passing of a new law.

Housing for the People: “I came back to life in a time of trouble”

Gary Barker, who sells Portland street paper Street Roots, writes for the latest in INSP’s Housing for the People – a column that allows those with lived experience of poverty, homelessness and insecure housing tell their story – writes about being “in a hell of my own doing”, but how with the pandemic making the world seem like world was falling apart, circumstances in Gary’s life suddenly made things start to come together. He writes about his work as an ambassador for Street Roots and leading on its MoJo scheme to get vendors into journalism, and how being in housing allows him to “find a way to get problems off my mind”.

“I’d give everybody a pay rise and halve the electric bills”: Big Issue vendors on what they’d do if they were Queen for the day

What if the Queen had the vision of a Big Issue vendor? The street paper asked its team, who sell the magazine across the country, what they’d do if they were Queen for a day as the UK’s reigning monarch celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne. The insights are intriguing.

Northern Italian street paper zebra. on the journey and bureaucracy faced by refugees, and how street papers can help them through it

The street paper zebra. is located in South Tyrol, a region in northern Italy close to the border with Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The project is uniquely placed, not only because it is published in two languages – German and Italian – but also because its cohort of vendors is made up people from ten different countries and four continents, many of whom have ended up in the region having fled from a situation of poverty, war or persecution. Ahead of World Refugee Day on 20 June, zebra.’s social work team – Alessio Giordano, Patrizia Insam, Francesca Parisi and Niklas Klinge – explain how the organisation has found itself in the centre of the refugee crisis and how the street paper’s assistance can be life changing for the people who pass through it.

As the refugee crisis worsens, street papers offer a path to stability and a hopeful future

Street papers have found themselves increasingly to be at the centre of the refugee crisis. Higher numbers of people selling street papers across different parts of the world have fled from their home countries due to poverty, persecution and conflict. Not only do street papers have the ability to platform their voices and stories, but they also offer a stable income when a place in the mainstream job market may seem out of reach. Their support beyond simply selling the magazine – assisting in applying for documentation and permits, looking for a new place to live, and language classes – means a pathway to integration into what is sometimes a new and unfamiliar society. Ahead of World Refugee Day on 20 June, INSP and its member street papers are helping some refugees – who now work selling street papers – to tell their story.