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.
On October 15, the Hungarian government passed an amendment to its constitution effectively banning rough sleepers. Slovakian street paper Nota Bene has been outspoken in its support for the country’s homeless population. The magazine’s editor Sandra Tordová, in collaboration with Hungarian street paper Fedél Nélkül, examined the initial impact of the law.
The umbrella organisation of Slovakian street paper Nota Bene organised a sleep out on the streets of Bratislava to show solidarity with those people currently being affected by the drastic anti-homelessness laws passed by the Hungarian government in recent weeks, and urged the Slovakian government not to go down the same path of criminalisation of the homeless community.
Recently, two street papers in different parts of the world published similar stories celebrating organisations that give free haircuts to homeless people. Dortmund-based magazine bodo told the story of the Barber’s Angels, a group of professional hairdressers from all over the North Rhine-Westphalia region who had come to Bochum to dish out complimentary styling. Across the Atlantic, Nashville’s The Contributor described a day of business for the Nashville Street Barbers.
Over the last few years, homeless women have become a familiar sight on the streets of Italy and the problem of homelessness has been steadily increasing among Italy’s female population. As the number of homeless women continues to rise, Scarp explores the reasons behind this and learns more about the unique problems that are faced by women living on the street.
Street Soccer Scotland’s David Duke: “The long term plan is no homelessness in Scotland, and I totally back that”
This year, Scotland is the place to be for charities, social entrepreneurs and purpose-driven businesses. The INSP Talks, an event at The Lighthouse as part of the INSP Global Street Paper Summit, hosted in Glasgow this week, will be dedicated to the country’s social business scene, as well as showcase social enterprises run by street papers. In addition, the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF), an international gathering for people involved in social enterprises across the planet to come together, share ideas and learn from each other about the future of their sector, is being hosted in Edinburgh in September. As a media partner for the SEWF, INSP is bringing you a series of conversations conducted with the folks behind some of the brightest social businesses involved in the event. David Duke has first-hand experience of what it’s like to be homeless and a lack of purpose, he says, can keep a person from finding their way out of a desperate situation. His organisation, Street Soccer Scotland, gives them an opportunity to find that purpose.
This week, the 2018 INSP Global Street Paper Summit has been held in Glasgow, giving street paper staff from countries throughout the network the opportunity to discuss the issues affecting their vendors in our modern world. According to recent news reports in the US state of Portland, 52 per cent of all arrests last year in the Portland area were made against people on the streets, and 86 per cent of those were for non-violent violations. The city’s street paper, Street Roots, surveyed its vendor about their first-hand experience with law enforcement.
The Global Street Paper Summit is an opportunity to focus in on a lot of the amazing work being done by street papers. However, that doesn’t mean that the problems affecting their vendors are overlooked. In Germany, the number of violent attacks on homeless people – arson, assault, rape – is increasing. Figures released by the German Federal Criminal Police Office [Bundeskriminalamt: BKA] show that, year on year, the number of attacks is continuing to grow. Hinz&Kunzt examined the reasons why such violence is on the rise and asks what can be done to stop it.
Olaf S died on a park bench close to St Michael’s Church, Hamburg. He was homeless and had braved sleeping out in the elements on a night when the temperature dropped below freezing. Two of his old friends, in collaboration with German street magazine Hinz&Kunzt, try to understand the circumstances of Olaf’s tragic decline.
“Who knows anything about how women on the streets suffer? They’re mostly invisible, just like I was”
Cologne-born Linda, a Draussenseiter vendor, was homeless for eleven years. Now, she runs her own self-help group for women on the streets and is passionately committed to ensuring that homeless women are properly supported. Here, she looks back on her life and discusses the positive legacy of her homelessness: those years endowed her with a sense of purpose that she has channelled into helping others.
When The Big Issue Australia published their first issue, 60,000 Australians were homeless. Now, that number is almost double. New census figures released this month show that there are more than 116,000 people who don’t have a place to call home. For their latest edition, The Big Issue decided to go beyond the statistics to hear from the very people these numbers represent – their vendors. Their stories are illuminating, devastating, and hopeful, and evidence that homelessness is more than not having a place to sleep.