Lee: north-america

One Step Away #VendorLetters in their own handwriting

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. This instalment in the series features One Step Away vendors, three of which submitted their letters in their handwritten form.

L’Itinéraire vendor Maxime to his 25-year-old self: “You are empathetic because you’ve been there and back”

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. Today, L’Itinéraire vendor Maxime writes words of encouragement to his younger self.

Life on the streets: Growing old

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. In the US, the proportion of elderly people experiencing poverty and homelessness has risen by more than 20 per cent in the past 15 years. For this instalment, Street Roots explores what being homeless is like for people in the later years of their lives.

Our vendors: Edward Johnson (One Step Away, Philadelphia, USA)

Edward Johnson has been working as a One Step Away vendor for over a year and moved into housing in August. Over 5,000 Philadelphians are affected by homelessness on any given night and, until recently, Edward was one of them. One Step Away finds out more about the sequence of events that led to Edward losing his home and hears about how One Step Away has given him support that he is richly grateful for.

Magic Hour: Curbside Chronicle vendors document golden moments through disposables

Vendors of The Curbside Chronicle documented their lives through a disposable camera photo essay with a magic hour theme for the Oklahoma street paper’s 55th issue, with some stunning results.

Street Sheet: Street paper network’s oldest member turns 30

San Francisco’s Street Sheet is the oldest current member of the International Network of Street Papers, and this month is celebrating its 30th anniversary. INSP spoke to the paper’s current editor Quiver Watts about the publication and the city, and hear excerpts from Street Sheet’s anniversary issue about the experiences of vendors and former staff over the years.

Health matters: Contributor vendors on getting healthcare in the US

Health care is a hot topic in the United States and the debate about health care is likely to be a key issue in the run up to the presidential election in 2020, and differing opinion on how it should be reformed has already been core to the ongoing Democratic Primary. The prohibitively high costs of accessing health care, combined with the high number of people without medical insurance, means that many Americans cannot access the care that they urgently need. Two vendors talk to The Contributor about their experiences of the American health care system.

The true horrors of homelessness

Previously, INSP brought stories from those living on the streets of Berkeley, published in the city’s street paper Street Spirit, that told tales of paranormal experiences, brushes with what could have been actual ghosts and, more eerily, the ghosts of memory. Here are two more pieces of writing, also by people who have experience of homelessness, which talk more about the truthful horrors that can occur while homeless.

Ghost stories from the homeless community

To coincide with Halloween, Berkeley, California’s Street Spirit asked those who lived on the city’s streets for chilling, ghostly stories intersecting with their experiences of homelessness.

Our vendors: Randy Humphreys (Street Roots, Portland, USA)

Randy Humphreys has been working as a Street Roots vendor for a few months and experiences great enjoyment in his work. He enjoys the contact that he has with his customers and is focusing on leaving his past behind him and moving forward with his life.

Toledo Streets founder on the street paper’s 10th anniversary

As Toledo Streets celebrates its 10th anniversary, its original founder writes about its inception and the events that led to it, as well as the struggles of setting up a street paper in a relatively small city and the breakthroughs that meant it could establish itself and carry out its mission.

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.

Life on the Streets: Beating the heat

Summer may be over, but due to pollution, the trapping of heat in urban areas and global warming, the autumn months may not prove to be much cooler for people living on the streets. In a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about, Street Roots vendors talk about the burden of living on the streets when the weather is hot.

INSP and Next City partnership to bring new content to the INSP News Service

INSP has teamed up with non-profit news organisation Next City as a content partner to bring stories to its members. Next City stories, which focus on the problems affecting cities and the solutions that infuse them with greater economic, environmental and social justice, will appear on INSP’s News Service.

Passion projects: Curbside Chronicle vendors on their hobbies

Curbside Chronicle vendors don’t just sell magazines. Although that’s probably what you’ll catch our green-vested sales force doing in public, it’s only one facet of their lives. Vendors love movies, sports and art just like anyone else. When vendors transition back into housing, it not only creates more opportunities for stability and comfort but also allows them to pursue their hobbies. From painting and drawing to tabletop gaming and leather work, here’s what some of our vendors do in their free time.

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.

Life on the Streets: Prone to loss

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. People in extreme poverty are experts on loss, whether it be their belongings, their privacy, their dignity or anything else.

Life on the Streets: The proliferation of private guards

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. Some Street Roots vendors welcome added security; others say private guards – who are not police – overstep their bounds.

Our vendors: Linda Pelletier (L’Itinéraire, Montréal, Québec, Canada)

Linda Pelletier is a L’Itinéraire vendor who sells the paper from her pitch at Marché Maisonneuve in Montréal. She has faced many challenges in her life and now considers herself as one of the many good writers at L’Itinéraire. Here, we learn more about her experiences earlier in life and her journey through trauma to self-acceptance. Now, aged 64, she can appreciate the beauty within herself.

Street papers respond to President Trump’s homelessness comments

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.

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.

Surviving through trauma: Sara Kruzan on trafficking, her incarceration, freedom and activism

After being trafficked into sex slavery, and emotionally and physically abused for much of her childhood, Sara Kruzan killed her abuser and was sentenced to life without parole. After fighting for her release, Kruzan has dedicated her freedom to advocating for the rights of young children put in similarly impossible situations. She spoke to INSP as she addressed an audience in Edinburgh about her work.

“You have to wait in line constantly”

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. Here, vendors talk about how they’re “spending a hell of a lot of time” waiting around.

What vendors eat

Helping readers get to know our vendors is a big motivator for putting together street papers. For this story, The Curbside Chronicle asked vendors to document a week’s worth of meals with a food diary, curious to know more about what vendors are eating. They photographed a single day of meals from several participants. The results were mixed — everything from multiple visits to soup kitchens to eating nothing at all. But one thing was clear, most vendors experience significant food insecurity. Hopefully this piece helps illustrate how poverty affects people and what they eat every day.

INSP launches North American Bureau to give regional support to street papers in the US, Canada and Mexico

INSP has launched a new initiative to help support street paper members situated in the US, Canada and Mexico. The North American Bureau will be led by the former executive director of Street Roots and backed by Seattle street paper Real Change.