Lee: north-america

Washington DC street paper vendors on disruption caused by Trump loyalists at Capitol riot

Trump’s rallies and actions in general have caused havoc to those living on the streets of Washington DC, whether it’s setting police and national guard troops on peaceful protestors last summer, or inciting riots at a rally last week as the US Senate moved to validate the election of Joe Biden as the next President. Vendors reflect on the chaos caused.

Combatting social isolation during the pandemic

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.

“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.

“I see opportunities for solutions”: The connections between food waste, homelessness, and COVID-19

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.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley asks marginalized communities to remember “our greatness is older than our oppression”

The first black woman to represent the state of Massachusetts in the US Congress, Ayanna Pressley, talks to INSP about racism as a public health crisis, housing and homelessness, the intersection of racial and housing justice, and the hope people with marginalized identities can have, even as the November election approaches in a hurricane of violence, corruption and upheaval.

An emerging battleground: Housing in the 2020 presidential election

Issues related to poverty and homelessness have long been pushed to the periphery of presidential elections. But with the housing crisis on course to be the most severe in history, they are of vital importance to a record number of Americans. The two candidates offer vastly different views of how to address homelessness in the United States. Trump’s record and statements show he is skeptical of government fiscal intervention and the housing-first model and supports a deregulatory approach, whereas Biden advocates for the federal government to play a much larger role through greater funding and rulemaking. Street Sense outlines the candidates’ platforms.

US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar: “We must be courageous in demands for investment in making our communities whole”

Since her election to the US House of Representatives, Ilhan Omar has made a name for herself as one of the key progressive voices in American politics while often facing xenophobic, racist, and sexist vitriol from the right. She spoke to INSP about the major issues facing modern America, from her work as a leading advocate for affordable housing reform to her commitment to a Green New Deal.

“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.

Housing is going to be an election issue — most Americans want the same thing

As Americans ready themselves for the November presidential election, housing may be more important than it has been in any recent election. In this op-ed for the INSP North America bureau, leaders from social action organisations – Community Change, Policy Link and Race Forward – lay out why this will be the case, and how housing is a pivot issue around a number of other key areas on voters’ minds, from racial justice to the economy.

US housing advocate Diane Yentel on housing in America: Where do we go from here?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.