Lee: coronavirus

Supporting street paper vendors around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic

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.

Big Issue Taiwan vendor Kuen-hua Shiu has been with the street paper since the beginning

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.

“I have this urge to help others” – Liceulice vendors stick together during COVID-19

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.

Two Megaphone vendors on very different pandemic experiences

Teresa Ng has been a Megaphone vendor for around eight years and usually sells the magazine from her pitch near East Hastings and Nanaimo Streets in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. She has kept herself busy during the pandemic but has been distressed by the racial abuse she has suffered as a result of her ethnicity. She is looking forward to returning to her work as a vendor. Dennis Chernyk has been a vendor for nearly two years and his pitch is near West Hastings and Granville Streets. In addition to his work with the street paper, Dennis enjoys writing, drawing, gardening, cooking, and spending time with his black short-haired cat Co-co. But, as Dennis tells us, not everyone is as enamoured with cats as he is.

Paused by a pandemic: A STREETZine vendor’s story

Vietnam veteran and STREETZine vendor Gary Keeton recalls his experiences of being forced to halt selling the Dallas street paper due to the COVID-19 outbreak and how his association with the magazine has dramatically improved his life.

“He’s in my phone as ‘God sent’”: Big Issue North vendor’s life-saving friendship with a customer

Will, a Big Issue North vendor in Doncaster, writes lyrically about how a customer and now friend of his, photographer Andy Lynch, was there for him at his lowest ebb.

Silence for Change: Drawing attention to the coronavirus catastrophe in Brazil

Brazil has endured one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 of any country, with over 2 million cases and rising. The situation has been worsened by political turmoil, including constant change of the nation’s top health official and a leader, in Jair Bolsonaro, who downplays the dangers of the pandemic. Alongside multiple social, humanitarian and religious organisations, Aurora da Rua, a street paper based in the Brazilian city of Salvador, is engaging in a campaign that utilises the power of silence to draw attention to the disaster currently unfolding.

Me, myself and isolation: Big Issue Australia vendor Mark’s lockdown diary

The lives of millions of people around the world were transformed when countries shut down in an attempt to halt the spread of coronavirus. For Big Issue vendor Mark, who is based in Adelaide, Australia, lockdown was spent fending off boredom, watching TV, talking to friends and family on the phone and dealing with… pigeons.

Real Change vendors were caught at the outset of the pandemic. Now they’re back

King County, home to Seattle’s Real Change, was a key area in the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Now, some normality is returning for its street paper vendors. Here are some of their stories.

Stand and deliver: Big Issue North vendors gradually return to the streets

The UK was a little behind the rest of Europe in seeing street paper vendors return to their pitches. Equipped with full PPE and contactless payment systems, those in northern England selling Big Issue North were both nervous and excited.

Tales from quarantine from Nashville street paper vendors

In this article, The Contributor catches up with several of its street paper vendors to find out how their lives and sales have been affected since COVID-19 hit. Although The Contributor has been able to continue printing physical copies of the paper during the pandemic, its vendors have had to adapt in order to maintain both their sales and their relationships with customers in a way that is safe for everyone.

Hinz&Kunzt vendor Thomas on the joy of returning to his pitch

After the coronavirus lockdown eased, Hinz&Kunzt vendors were looking forward to the restart, but also feeling slightly uneasy. They’ll need help – from Hinz&Kunzt, but also from the people working in the shops outside which they have their pitches. The Hamburg street paper accompanied vendor Thomas to his pitch.

Surprise vendors on life during the coronavirus crisis

Two Surprise vendors – Sandra and Ghide – speak about how the coronavirus lockdown has affected their way of life. For both, not being able to sell the magazine has been a disruption. But it also picks at other parts – the ability to stay to routine, and the manageability of employing coping mechanisms for health issues that are difficult to deal with at the best of times. Since these interviews, Surprise vendors, like many street papers in Europe, have gradually begun to return to work.

As coronavirus lockdowns ease, street paper vendors return

With lockdown restrictions being pulled back in some areas, and the new normal of social distancing takes form, street paper vendors are beginning to return to the pitches they have been absent from as the COVID-19 pandemic has spread. INSP spoke to some of the publications who have begun street selling again about how they prepared their vendors and how they have managed.

Liceulice vendors on their experiences of lockdown

As Serbia’s state of emergency to combat the coronavirus pandemic was lifted, vendors of street paper Liceulice were finally able to work again. They looked back on their experiences of lockdown and what they missed most.

Getting by: Homeless during a pandemic in Oklahoma city

Throughout March and April, the world changed. COVID-19 turned something as simple as a trip to the park into a memory. Yes, it’s been a struggle. But when so much of the advice hinges on staying indoors and staying isolated, what does it mean if you’re experiencing homelessness? How do you shelter in place when you have no home? We have received dispatches from different parts of the world on this subject. Today: Oklahoma City, home of The Curbside Chronicle.

Sheltering in place while unhoused in Denver

While downtown Denver remains empty, those experiencing homelessness have struggled to find limited shelter, forcing some to create their own “city within the city”.

“Housing is both a prevention and a cure for COVID-19”

UN experts in housing and urban development, Maimunah Mohd Sharif and Leilani Farha, explain why it has never been clearer than during this pandemic that the right to housing is “a matter of life and death”.

“I see myself as an astronaut far above the earth” – Hinz&Kunzt vendors on how COVID-19 has changed their lives

During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Hamburg-based street paper Hinz&Kunzt asked its vendors how severely they have been impacted by its effects.

Paws everything! The pets keeping Curbside vendors company in lockdown

Now that the world has stopped spinning as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a great time to take a moment to meet a few un-fur-gettable vendor pets and hear about their amazing impact. Pets are a huge part of Curbside Chronicle vendors’ lives and they actively brighten even their most difficult days. We hope you’re also finding comfort in your furry friends as you practice social distancing!

The coronavirus pandemic is giving the majority of people “a taste of homelessness”

Thanks to coronavirus, says one Street Spirit writer who is homeless, the majority of the USA is getting an idea of day to day life for the homeless community.

Pope Francis sends message to the street paper network: “The coronavirus pandemic has made your work difficult, but I am sure you will return stronger than ever”

In a personal message to the street paper network – expressing his solidarity with its journalists, its frontline staff, its volunteers and its vendors – Pope Francis hails the work being done by street papers to help “the vulnerable and invisible” in the testing circumstances created by COVID-19.

A little more good: INSP intern on how being uprooted by the pandemic has put things into perspective

Like so many others, INSP intern Jenna Minser’s life was completely upended because of COVID-19. As we all adapt to our new normal, it can be easy to focus on the bad things. Yet, it’s more important than ever to find the big things we can be grateful for and the small things we can do to make the world a little better.

How StreetWise vendors are coping during the coronavirus outbreak

We check in with vendors at Chicago-based street paper StreetWise as coronavirus has made it impossible for most of them to sell the magazine on the streets.

“Can the last one out please turn off the lights?” – It’s not just street paper selling that’s hindered by COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has emptied Hamburg Airport. For those working for ‘Spende Dein Pfand’, a collaboration between the Hamburg street paper Hinz&Kunzt, Hamburg Airport and the Green Dot, that means reduced working hours. The street paper talked to employee Uwe Tröger about how he’s coping.

INSP North America director Israel Bayer: “The issue of homelessness and housing in America has been a tinderbox waiting to catch fire for generations. It’s time for change”

INSP North America director Israel Bayer calls for short-term relief and sweeping changes from the US federal government as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the homeless community and plunges those in uncertain housing predicaments into greater uncertainty. It is an opportunity, Bayer writes, “to create a national housing justice movement that addresses both systemic racism and the need to provide a safe place to call home for all our citizens.”

A street paper hero in a pandemic

In Denmark, coronavirus cases and deaths have been kept relatively low compared to other European countries. But, as with elsewhere, its homeless and socially excluded people remain at risk. With a government more used to criminalising than helping this population, street paper Hus Forbi has implemented radical measures to assist its vendors, and all vulnerable Danes, as the pandemic crisis continues.

Suddenly a Ghost Town

From her pitch in Melbourne, The Big Issue Australia’s Mariann B watches the city become deserted, and the streets fall silent as coronavirus forces everyone into lockdown.