Seattle street paper Real Change, which turns 25 this year, has put millions of dollars into the pockets of some of the city’s poorest residents — and has no intention of stopping any time soon. Spurred by its 25th anniversary, and its successful forays into solving the problems that an increasingly cashless society poses to street paper vendors, Sandi Doughton, a writer at The Seattle Times’ Pacific NW magazine, spent some time around Real Change’s staff and vendors.
Seattle street paper Real Change celebrated #VendorWeek by putting on a Big Sell event on Wednesday. But there was a twist: Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard was selling street papers with vendor Darrell Wrenn somewhere in the city, but could you follow the clues to find them? The challenge caught the imagination of everyday Seattleites.
From the INSP Archive: Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard talks about how he got involved in homeless advocacy
Last summer, legendary Seattle band Pearl Jam performed shows in their home city to raise awareness of the homelessness crisis. The homecoming was five years in the making, and it was the issue of homelessness that prompted it. At the time, the band’s guitarist Stone Gossard spoke to Darrell Wren, a vendor for Seattle street paper Real Change. INSP is revisiting the interview today after Gossard and Wren captured the attention of the Seattle public during #VendorWeek 2019 by participating in Real Change’s annual selling event.
Glenn Walker has been all over the place, both in his life and as a Real Change vendor. He’s lived in Denver, New York and Chicago, but he’s lived in Seattle for years. As a Real Change vendor, he gets around, too: Issaquah, Bellevue and Bainbridge Island are all on his regular route. Hanna Brooks Olsen spent a day shadowing Glenn to find out about what it’s like to be a Real Change vendor.
Norma has been living in Seattle since 2010 and was introduced to Real Change by her current partner in late 2016. Here, she looks back on her life before moving to Seattle, praises the freedom that she has found by being a vendor and celebrates the resilience that has served her well since childhood.
John has spent the last 40 years working as a handyman all over Washington state. He has been homeless since the age of 18. Here, he talks about his family background, the challenges that he currently faces and the importance of appreciating how lucky you are.
Today, North American street papers will join in with the #VendorWeek celebrations by hosting selling events, some for the first time. This #VendorWeek tradition is a chance for those unfamiliar with the street paper movement to understand better what street paper vendors do.
Emmanuel Salter has travelled all over the USA, driven by his thirst for adventure. Now a Real Change vendor in Seattle, Emmanuel looks back on his life and reflects on the present, in which his is not homeless but ‘home-free’.
Rose moved to the US from the Philippines and she has been through some big changes in her life. But working with Real Change has finally made her life change for the better.
After five years of homelessness, Real Change vendor Lisa Sawyer finally got somewhere to live with her boyfriend. Now it looks like her new home may be slipping away.
Rachel loves her home city of Seattle, but also feels a strong connection to Montana – she named her beloved Chihuahua-terrier puppy after a city there. When she’s not selling Real Change, or advocating for people with disabilities and service dogs, she likes to make balloon animals and even perform as a clown.
Seattle street paper Real Change has made a passionate call-to-arms to its readers and supporters to join them in protesting against hate against the backdrop of Donald Trump’s first days as U.S. president.
Selling the paper helps with the basics like bills and food, but also helps vendor Mellie Kaufman to feel better about herself and her life. “”Before I sold Real Change, I felt like I was nothing. Now, I feel better,” she says.
Becoming homeless came as a shock to Valerie Williams. But thanks to the support of Real Change, she now has her own place and has recently worked as a paid intern with the street paper, helping her fellow vendors.
Real Change News’ Vendor of the Year Awards were scooped by two popular characters committed to putting smiles on the face of their customers.
Mike Fancher, former executive editor of The Seattle Times, called street papers a catalyst for change during his keynote speech at #INSP2015.
“You have incredible power in our society,” Eric Liu told a global audience of street paper delegates and advocates during an impassioned keynote speech at #INSP2015.
Learn what happened when street paper delegates visited 1811 Eastlake, an innovative and somewhat controversial Housing First program running in Seattle.
Real Change board member and contributor Jim Douglas reflects on our delegate study visit to Seattle homeless encampment Tent City 3.
“The answer to homelessness isn’t rocket science—it’s a home,” executive director of Downtown Emergency Services, Bill Hobson, said during an #INSP2015 session which explored innovative solutions to decriminalizing homelessness in Seattle.
Being homeless “makes you count your blessings for the little things, just to wash, wash your teeth, take a shower. When you’re homeless, these things are all taken away from you.”
Real Change celebrated two decades in print yesterday with a fundraising breakfast that brought in more than $103K to support their work with homeless and low-income people. Started in 1994 by Timothy Harris, the paper […]