Earlier this month the news broke of the death of Dimitri Koutsomytis, who dedicated 14 years of his life to working with street papers, specifically Norway’s =Oslo. Here the magazine presents some of his best photography, which was just one skill Dimitri used to better the fortunes of the street paper and, in turn, its vendors.
“To those we hold in high esteem”: Street Roots vendor Rick Davis remembers those who have been lost on the street
Rick Davis, a longtime vendor of Portland’s Street Roots, this year set about creating a dedication wall to mark Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day and all those who have died on the streets.
For society’s most vulnerable and marginalised, 2020 – and the pandemic that has defined it – has exacerbated problems already familiar to them: food security, unstable housing, social isolation, income, and access to social services as they are weakened at a time they’re needed most. Street papers, which exist to alleviate that strain, have been impacted too. It’s been hard, but the effects they’ve felt have not been uniform. As the new year approaches, INSP checked in with street paper vendors of differing circumstances across the world to reflect on these past months and to look forward with some hope.
“The system is failing all the families that really need it”: How the threat of eviction has perpetuated health inequity and racial injustice during the pandemic
Black and Hispanic communities have faced inequities and injustices based on race even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that stimulus packages and eviction moratoriums are running out or expiring, futures are even more uncertain for these communities, who have also been hit hardest with higher job or income loss than white communities, says health and housing law expert Emily A. Benfer.
Food waste and homelessness are often seen as two separate issues. However, there are many organizations across the United States working on solutions to both problems at once. Even with the difficulties of COVID-19, organizations are finding ways to help support the larger numbers of people needing food support by recovering significant amounts of food that would be wasted through shutdowns.
Poland has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, and its current government has made moves to restrict women’s right to choose even further. Patrycja Zenker, editor-in-chief of Poznan street paper Gazeta Uliczna, writes for INSP about why hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets of Poland in protest against the government’s attack on the bodily autonomy of Polish women.
As the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues to cause unprecedented disruption for the entire street paper network, we’ve compiled a list of all the ways you can currently support each of the publications and their vendors.
The Big Issue Taiwan is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. It hasn’t exactly been the most ideal celebration. But Kuen-hua Shiu (Hua for short) first became a magazine vendor back in March 2010, returned to his work with the magazine in November 2019, and is still going even as COVID-19 has affected sales. You’ll find him in the pedestrian arcade at Dingxi Station in New Taipei City sitting on his mobility scooter, wearing his orange vendor’s vest and waiting to greet his customers.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley asks marginalized communities to remember “our greatness is older than our oppression”
The first black woman to represent the state of Massachusetts in the US Congress, Ayanna Pressley, talks to INSP about racism as a public health crisis, housing and homelessness, the intersection of racial and housing justice, and the hope people with marginalized identities can have, even as the November election approaches in a hurricane of violence, corruption and upheaval.
Vendors in Kikinda, Serbia have taken a hit to their ability to sell the street paper Liceulice due to the COVID-19 restrictions in their city. Svetlana Kalinov shone during the height of the lockdown restrictions by selflessly encouraging a cohort of her vendor colleagues to donate their savings from selling the magazine to those struggling in the town of Novi Sad. She has also found herself helping out at a local day care centre. Liceulice, she says, makes her feel useful in a world where that connection has often evaded her.
Issues related to poverty and homelessness have long been pushed to the periphery of presidential elections. But with the housing crisis on course to be the most severe in history, they are of vital importance to a record number of Americans. The two candidates offer vastly different views of how to address homelessness in the United States. Trump’s record and statements show he is skeptical of government fiscal intervention and the housing-first model and supports a deregulatory approach, whereas Biden advocates for the federal government to play a much larger role through greater funding and rulemaking. Street Sense outlines the candidates’ platforms.
After working with inmates at Glasgow’s Barlinnie prison for some years, musician Jill Brown sought to establish a way for exceptional talent uncovered behind bars to release their music. The result is Conviction Records, a record label and social enterprise for ex-offenders. With backing from major music A&R Eric MacLellan, Brown hopes the outreach to former prison inmates and the songs created with them will help bring convicted criminals back from the fringes of society.