Lee: north-america

Response to protests upends daily life for homeless people in downtown Washington DC

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.

Police response to protests shakes houseless Portlanders

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.

Struck by a rubber bullet: Street Roots staffer describes her experience as a Black woman at a Portland protest

“Surviving police brutality is a different type of trauma known to an endless number of Black people,” writes Street Roots staffer Sophie Maziraga.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

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.

US street paper vendors on being denied voting rights as former felons when the democratic process is more important than ever

Coronavirus has even upended democracy. In a recent Wisconsin Democratic Primary vote, very little accommodation was made to ensure people could get out to vote, and do so safely. It’s a worry ahead of an important Presidential election set for later this year. If the current circumstances continue, the situation may end up actively stopping people from voting. But the US already has all sorts of different restrictions hampering the ability of its citizens to vote. Two Contributor vendors explain how their past felony charges bar them from exercising the franchise.

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.”

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.

How San Francisco’s poor and homeless people are surviving during the coronavirus pandemic

Quiver Watts, editor of San Francisco’s Street Sheet, writes that the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak not only poses a greater risk to the city’s population living in poverty, but argues that they will be made “a convenient scapegoat to take attention off the real failures in the city’s emergency response”.

Drug and alcohol recovery in a time of isolation

As recovery support groups across the US cancel and move online due to COVID-19 measures, an increase in relapses could compound demands on health care providers.

INSP North America director Israel Bayer: “For those on the front lines of homelessness, Covid-19 represents a reality that people already live with every single day”

Israel Bayer, director of INSP North America, provides context for why the official response to the coronavirus outbreak in the region is failing those who are homeless and living in poverty, and writes about why systemic injustices mean that, amidst this health crisis, that community is being left behind.

Street survival in Portland in the age of coronavirus

Street Roots executive director Kaia Sand sends a dispatch from Oregon after visiting a small homeless camp housing a handful of the Portland street paper’s vendors who have become proactive about safeguarding themselves and staying healthy as the coronavirus panic sweeps the Pacific Northwest United States.

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.

Life on the Streets: The full moon

In history and in pop culture, the full moon continually sparks feelings of fear, curiosity, and excitement. In the latest addition to ‘Life on the Streets’, the Street Roots series that tackles issues people facing homelessness experience, vendors speak on their own encounters with the ever-mysterious full moon.

Vendor City Guide: Washington DC

The Big Issue has been reaching out to vendors across the street paper network to get the inside scoop on the cities they know best. This instalment features Street Sense vendor Wendell talking about Washington DC in the US.

Life on the Streets: Public transit

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. Some vendors say they’ve seen public transport inspectors profiling homeless people. Here they talk about their experiences.

StreetWise vendors give their hot takes on the year’s Oscar-nominated films

According to Chicago street paper StreetWise, one of its goals is to be entertaining while highlighting issues affecting its vendors and giving them a voice. Reviewing Oscar-nominated films has become an annual opportunity to give them a chance to tell their own story in a unique way. This year, a cast of 17 vendors weigh in on some of the films up for honours at the 92nd Academy Awards.

L’Itinéraire editor pays tribute to vendor who died after years of sleeping rough

#VendorWeek is a time to celebrate vendors but, such is the nature of their lives, sometimes tragedy strikes, and it is good to remember that, and the people that tragedy touches, too. Earlier this year, Montréal-based paper L’Itinéraire lost one of their vendors. Stéphane Avard was a bright and loving person worn thin by years of homelessness, and his story speaks to the relationship between sleeping rough and mental illness. The magazine’s editor wrote a touching tribute.

Two Washington DC vendors on a big year to come in American politics

2020 will be a momentous year in US politics. Will Trump evade impeachment to be re-elected? Will the Democrats find a big enough character to run against him? To measure the pulse in the US capital, two Street Sense vendors from Washington DC, with very different opinions, give their take on the state of the nation.

#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.

#VendorWeek 2020: Toledo Streets names its Vendor of the Year

There is surely no more apt a time to announce your Vendor of the Year than to coincide with #VendorWeek. That’s what Ohio-based paper Toledo Streets have done. Its vendor Shaun “Rooster” Tinch exhibits all the qualities that the street paper hopes to inspire, says its vendor manager Claire McKenna.

Our vendors: Derrick Hayes (Street Spirit, Oakland, USA)

Some residents of Downtown Oakland might recognise Derrick Hayes from the mural of him that adorns the building at 14th and Franklin; others might know him as the familiar face that sells Street Spirit from his various pitches in the area. He is a man who radiates friendliness, treasures the community around him and who talks candidly and emotionally about the journey that has brought him to the present moment.

Life on the Streets: Fear goes both ways

Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. That homeless people are dangerous is a clear misconception, vendors say. And for some on the streets, it’s housed people who are feared.