Real Change

Seattle, WA, United States
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Black lives matter: Protest movement against racism, oppression and police brutality sweeps across America

Since the death of George Floyd, a young black man killed by a white police officer as his colleagues stood idly by, protests have sprung up across the US and other parts of the world calling for an end to systemic racial injustices and police brutality. American street papers were present at many of those protests.

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It took a pandemic to create the emergency response we’ve needed all along

In this instalment of his weekly column, Tim Harris, founding director of Seattle street paper Real Change, wonders why it took the crisis initiated by the spread of coronavirus for city officials to realise that the measures had to be taken to help the homeless population into shelter. In Seattle, as in other parts of the world, the pandemic has shown that the way, if not the will, to help those in need was there all along.

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As coronavirus outbreak worsens, street papers and their staff respond

With coronavirus cases across the world now at well over 100,000, Italy is in lockdown and the US west coast is bearing the brunt of Covid-19’s appearance in America. INSP spoke again with street paper staff about the effect it is having on their organisations and vendors, with particular attention given to how staff are assisting vendors to stay safe and healthy.

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Fab Feb Front Pages: A round-up of this month’s street paper covers

Find out what cover stories have been making a splash on the streets around the world this month.

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#VendorWeek 2020: Seattle street paper Real Change challenges local celebrities to try being vendors for a day

Real Change celebrate #VendorWeek with their third annual Day of Heroes, a chance for local celebrities to partner with Real Change vendors to try for themselves to sell the Seattle papers.

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There are literally thousands of people dying homeless on the streets of America

Days before Christmas, communities across the US joined together to memorialise those who had died while homeless that year. INSP North America director Israel Bayer summed up the tragedies that have beset countless homeless Americans, while a group of the country’s street papers collaborated on making sure these remembrances, and the people they were about, were noticed.

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#VendorLetters: Four diverse Real Change vendors write to their 25-year-old selves

To mark the end of INSP’s 25th anniversary year, we have been asking vendors across the street paper network to write a letter to their 25-year-old self. In this instalment, four Real Change vendors write about life at 25.

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Halloween Horrors: October’s covers round-up is here

Happy Halloween! The end of October is nigh, and we’re ready to dust off the cobwebs and send shivers down your spine with our round-up of covers from the past month.

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Our vendors: James Jenkins (Real Change, Seattle, USA)

James Jenkins sells Real Change from his pitch at the QFC grocery story on Broadway and Pike Street in Capitol Hill. Jenkins has Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a rare neurological disorder that makes working nine-to-five unfeasible for him. He enjoys working as a Real Change vendor because it offers him the flexibility to work on the days that he feels well enough to do so.

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INSP25: INSP celebrates a quarter of a century with street paper members

INSP has been celebrating its 25th anniversary all year with events and projects, and sharing stories and memories. With more happening this month and towards the end of the year, INSP spoke to members of the network also celebrating the quarter of a century milestone in 2019 about what has changed and what is to come.

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Covers Galore: Rounding-up August’s street paper front pages

Fiction, food, festivals and fun – here’s our round-up of street papers covers this month.

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Real Change turns 25: Q&A with Founding Director Tim Harris

INSP turns 25 this year, but so do a number of our street paper members. Real Change in Seattle is just one of them. To mark it, the paper’s reporter Ashley Archibald spoke to its founding director Tim Harris about the past, present and future of the street paper movement.

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Reflections from the 2019 Global Street Paper Summit by INSP board member, and Real Change founding director, Tim Harris

After attending the 2019 Global Street Paper Summit, INSP board member, and Real Change founding director, Tim Harris offered some reflections on the state of the street paper movement and what we have to look forward to in the future.

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Our vendors: Joseph Capozzi (Real Change, Seattle, USA)

Real Change vendor Joseph was delighted to find community, support and hope when he moved into the new shelter housed at Seattle’s King County Jail. The new shelter initially proved divisive, with some – including Real Change Founding Director Tim Harris – voicing concern about the optics of housing people experiencing homelessness in a jail. For Joseph, the shelter has been a much-needed sanctuary. He explains how staying at the shelter has changed his life for the better.

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INSP Awards: Presenting the 2019 Best Cultural Feature Finalists

As the 2019 INSP Awards draws closer, we’re bringing you the Finalists in each category over this week and next, and we’re continuing today by announcing the Top 5 Entries for Best Cultural Feature.

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INSP Awards: The 2019 Best Cultural Feature Nominees Revealed

We’re continuing with our 2019 INSP Awards announcements, and today it’s the Top 10 Entries for Best Cultural Feature.

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Feeling the Love: A look at February’s street paper covers

Some LOVEly covers have caught our eye this month – here’s our February round-up of front pages.

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#VendorWeek 2019: “Selling the paper is often harder than it looks”

During this year’s #VendorWeek, Tim Harris, founding director of Seattle street paper Real Change, took part in their selling event. Paired with veteran vendor Michael, Tim found the experience challenging, but ultimately educational and rewarding, writing about it in his regular column for the paper.

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Seattle street paper Real Change has work highlighted in local media

Seattle street paper Real Change, which turns 25 this year, has put millions of dollars into the pockets of some of the city’s poorest residents — and has no intention of stopping any time soon. Spurred by its 25th anniversary, and its successful forays into solving the problems that an increasingly cashless society poses to street paper vendors, Sandi Doughton, a writer at The Seattle Times’ Pacific NW magazine, spent some time around Real Change’s staff and vendors.

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#VendorWeek 2019: Real Change captures Seattle public’s imagination with #WheresStone challenge

Seattle street paper Real Change celebrated #VendorWeek by putting on a Big Sell event on Wednesday. But there was a twist: Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard was selling street papers with vendor Darrell Wrenn somewhere in the city, but could you follow the clues to find them? The challenge caught the imagination of everyday Seattleites.

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From the INSP Archive: Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard talks about how he got involved in homeless advocacy

Last summer, legendary Seattle band Pearl Jam performed shows in their home city to raise awareness of the homelessness crisis. The homecoming was five years in the making, and it was the issue of homelessness that prompted it. At the time, the band’s guitarist Stone Gossard spoke to Darrell Wren, a vendor for Seattle street paper Real Change. INSP is revisiting the interview today after Gossard and Wren captured the attention of the Seattle public during #VendorWeek 2019 by participating in Real Change’s annual selling event.

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Hello 2019! A round-up of January’s street paper covers from around the world

2019 is well and truly underway, and the new year has brought with it an impressive array of street paper covers to cast the winter blues away!

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As the rest of the country gears up for Christmas, US street papers mark National Homeless Persons Memorial Day

Since 1990, communities across the US, while shoppers frantically prepare for Christmas, meet on the first day of winter and longest night of the year to commemorate those who have died while homeless in the last year. This year, 150 such gatherings took place on what is known as National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. Among them were those attended and organised by US-based street papers, accounts of which are collated here.

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October’s Offerings: A round-up of this month’s street paper covers

It may be Halloween, but we’ll try not to scare you off with this month’s eclectic round up of street paper covers from around the world.

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“I already have a real job”

Real Change vendor Jen Tibbits rebuts one of the most common criticisms of street paper sellers across our network: “Why don’t you get a real job?”

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Spending a day with a Real Change vendor

Glenn Walker has been all over the place, both in his life and as a Real Change vendor. He’s lived in Denver, New York and Chicago, but he’s lived in Seattle for years. As a Real Change vendor, he gets around, too: Issaquah, Bellevue and Bainbridge Island are all on his regular route. Hanna Brooks Olsen spent a day shadowing Glenn to find out about what it’s like to be a Real Change vendor.

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World Cup wonders and getting back to nature: a round up of June’s street paper covers

As we approach the halfway mark in 2018, take a look back at the covers on sale on the streets of the world this month.

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Our vendors: Norma Gastelum (Real Change, Seattle, USA)

Norma has been living in Seattle since 2010 and was introduced to Real Change by her current partner in late 2016. Here, she looks back on her life before moving to Seattle, praises the freedom that she has found by being a vendor and celebrates the resilience that has served her well since childhood.

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A Shower of April Covers: INSP’s latest front page round-up

April has showered us with a flow of fantastic front pages, and we’ve splattered the very best onto this month’s covers round-up!

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Our vendors: John Birgen (Real Change, Seattle, USA)

John has spent the last 40 years working as a handyman all over Washington state. He has been homeless since the age of 18. Here, he talks about his family background, the challenges that he currently faces and the importance of appreciating how lucky you are.

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The Covers of March: A round-up of this month’s front pages

Another month is coming to a close, meaning it’s time to reflect on the street paper covers that have been making waves amongst vendors and readers alike during March.

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February Feels: A round-up of street paper covers this month

With entries for the 2018 INSP Awards opening very soon, has February delivered us any potential winners in the Best Cover category?

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#VendorWeek 2018: Real Change rallies notable local figures to sell street papers with vendors

Today, North American street papers will join in with the #VendorWeek celebrations by hosting selling events, some for the first time. This #VendorWeek tradition is a chance for those unfamiliar with the street paper movement to understand better what street paper vendors do.

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Our vendors: Emmanuel Salter (Real Change, Seattle, USA)

Emmanuel Salter has travelled all over the USA, driven by his thirst for adventure. Now a Real Change vendor in Seattle, Emmanuel looks back on his life and reflects on the present, in which his is not homeless but ‘home-free’.

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Podcast: Media Voices speaks to INSP members about the street paper movement

Peter Houston of Flipping Pages Media interviews INSP members about the current challenges facing street papers.

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INSP Awards: 2017 Winners Announced!

Find out who took home the 12 coveted awards at the 2017 INSP Awards, held in Manchester, UK.

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INSP Awards: 2017 Best Photo Finalists Revealed

Our top five snaps have been chosen – we present to you our Best Photo finalists for 2017!

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Our vendors: Rose Gascon (Real Change, Seattle, USA)

Rose moved to the US from the Philippines and she has been through some big changes in her life. But working with Real Change has finally made her life change for the better.

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INSP Awards: The Best Photo Nominees for 2017 are here!

Our snap-happy street papers have offered up hundreds of impressive images this year, and we’ve got the top ten all developed and ready to go!

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‘Rapid rehousing’ scheme brings joy – and money worries – for Seattle vendor

After five years of homelessness, Real Change vendor Lisa Sawyer finally got somewhere to live with her boyfriend. Now it looks like her new home may be slipping away. 

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Our vendors: Rachel Reynolds (Real Change, Seattle, Washington, USA)

Rachel loves her home city of Seattle, but also feels a strong connection to Montana – she named her beloved Chihuahua-terrier puppy after a city there. When she’s not selling Real Change, or advocating for people with disabilities and service dogs, she likes to make balloon animals and even perform as a clown.

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Real Change leads rally against hate in exceptional year of uncertainty

Seattle street paper Real Change has made a passionate call-to-arms to its readers and supporters to join them in protesting against hate against the backdrop of Donald Trump’s first days as U.S. president.

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Homeless activist launches world’s newest street paper in Colorado Springs

“The idea came from being hungry – the desire came from wanting to fight.” Currently homeless in Colorado Springs, Raven Canon is a campaigner and the founder of the world’s newest street paper. We caught up with her just after she published the first edition of The Springs Echo.

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Our vendors: Mellie Kaufman (Real Change, Seattle, Washington, USA)

Selling the paper helps with the basics like bills and food, but also helps vendor Mellie Kaufman to feel better about herself and her life. “”Before I sold Real Change, I felt like I was nothing. Now, I feel better,” she says.

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“How will you reach out to people like me?” street papers respond to President Trump

International street paper staff and vendors responded with surprise and apprehension following the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the USA.

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Our vendors: Valerie Williams (Real Change, Seattle, USA)

Becoming homeless came as a shock to Valerie Williams. But thanks to the support of Real Change, she now has her own place and has recently worked as a paid intern with the street paper, helping her fellow vendors.

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October global street paper covers get scary

Between Halloween and Trump, there’s a frighteneing vibe on this month’s international street paper covers. Thank god for Street Cat Bob…

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Prophets of Rage to Bridget Jones – September street paper supporters

There’s support from big name stars featured on this month’s covers – but also stark reminders of why street papers are so necessary for homeless people.

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VIDEO: “Real Change means real community”

Real Change vendor Shelly Cohen stars in a new film by Facing Homelessness. He talks about what Seattle street paper Real Change has meant to him, and his love of bowling.

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Olympic fever gripped world’s street papers this August

August’s street paper covers have the Olympic spirit, featuring ‘cuddly lawnmowers’, a homeless wedding, Steven Spielberg, and a cheeky little bit of rickrolling.

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Success of unique cooperative newspaper proves “truth still sells” in Greece

How many journalists does it take to produce one of Greece’s most trusted and successful daily newspapers? The editor of Efimerida ton Syntakton (The Journalists’ Paper) explains how his unique cooperative of over 100 journalists is thriving in Greece.