13 German street papers, including INSP members, have banded together to demand that the country’s state and city officials use empty hotels to house those experiencing homelessness amid ongoing restrictions and “stay at home” pleas due to the coronavirus. A petition laying out their concerns has already reached over 2,500 signatures.
During the course of the last year, COVID-19 has grown from an invisible threat to a pervasive international health emergency. The virus has also impacted mental health and sparked instances of relapse. Oklahoma City street paper The Curbside Chronicle spoke with those who’ve struggled with feeling alone and those working the frontlines of mental health to shine a light on the dark side of social isolation and discover some hope.
“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.
“At 15 years old, I was thrown from living barely above the poverty line to not having a home”: How the climate emergency exacerbates homelessness
In 2007, a flash flood ripped through Kathryn McKelvey’s home in a rural Oregon town, leaving it utterly destroyed and her family homeless. As fires now consume the western United States, McKelvey, a tireless homeless advocate, shows through her personal story how the climate crisis – and the increasing frequency and destructiveness of the natural disasters that come with it – is causing more and more people to fall into poverty and homelessness, with no safety net.
Diane Yentel is the President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a membership organization dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that ensures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes. One of America’s leading voices on housing and homelessness, she spoke with INSP North America’s Israel Bayer about the housing crisis in America, what’s at stake in the upcoming Presidential election, the intersection of racial and climate justice with housing, and what readers can do about it.
As all large gatherings, especially sporting events, fell victim to coronavirus lockdown restrictions, this year’s Homeless World Cup, due to take place in Finnish city Tampere, was cancelled. In the wake of the pandemic, organisers of the tournament, which brings together street soccer teams from across the globe, moved everything online in an effort to continue to use the power of sport for good. The result is this weekend’s virtual Homeless World Cup Day.
As near-constant Black Lives Matter protests have become a fixture near the White House, people experiencing homelessness in the area are finding themselves caught in the crossfire between demonstrators and law enforcement.
The discord of protests is “quite an ordeal” for people living outside, including those with PTSD who are troubled by loud noises. Street Roots reports on how Portland’s homeless community has reacted to the protests.
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.
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”.
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.
Street papers provide global update on how the world’s homeless population is facing the coronavirus
The Big Issue took stock of how coronavirus is affecting the world’s homeless community, providing another update on just how severely the spread of the virus is impacting street papers and the people for which they provide an income.
As the impact of the coronavirus spreads further around the world, guidance has been put in place for how to prevent it spreading and what to do if you suspect you have contracted it. However, rough sleepers cannot safeguard themselves in the same ways the general public can. The Big Issue spoke to homeless shelters and other front-line service providers to find out what plans they have in place.
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.
US street papers collaborate with non-profit Law@theMargins on series centring voices from the homeless community
Four US street papers have collaborated on ‘The Right to a Home’ series with non-profit media organisation Law@theMargins and its Community Based News Room project. The stories produced amplify voices from within the homeless community, exploring how homelessness is being addressed at a local level across the country.
Last week, US President Donald Trump made comments about homelessness that garnered some bewildered reactions. Homelessness is an issue rarely spoken on by Trump. But a community of people who know a thing or two about homelessness in the US are street paper staff and vendors. A selection of them, from Portland’s Street Roots and Washington, D.C.’s Street Sense, had their say.
As the European Parliament elections approach this week, Hus Forbi spoke to Freek Spinnewijn, director of FEANTSA, the European organisation fighting to end homelessness. He talks about the importance of the coming vote in relation to tackling homelessness across member states, and why this particular European election matters more than ever.
The Big Issue Australia asked a selection of its vendors to share what it’s like to sleep when you have no place to call home.
The Blankfaces is a Glasgow-based social enterprise fashion label that works with people experiencing homelessness on design ideas to create stylish streetwear with a message. INSP spoke to its founder Gerard McKenzie-Govan about the impetus behind the business and giving an outlet for the homeless community’s creative spirit.
Jason and Brendan are members of The Squeegee Punks, which is a well-known group who wash windscreens for money in Montréal. When the city’s street paper L’Itinéraire asked them about whether it was possible to find love on the street, both men looked back in amazement: “Why can’t we?”
In the most recent count of the homeless community in Multnomah County, Oregon, 1,355 adult women were identified as homeless, making up 36 per cent of the total homeless population, a 16 per cent rise from the previous survey. Street Roots spoke to five of its vendors about what women living on the streets experience.
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.
After two Hus Forbi vendors were fined and kicked out of the municipality of Copenhagen, the Danish street paper is now raising funds to help their vendors pay fines and legal fees. The anti-homelessness law, which was passed by the Danish government in March, gives police the power to fine and dish out “zone bans” to people found rough sleeping, citing the reason that they have formed “a camp that creates insecurity”. Hus Forbi editor Poul Struve Nielsen explains more.