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.
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.
In a twist on the long-running vendor profile feature, Claire McKenna tells us more about Toledo Streets vendor Rooster Tinch. Claire is a Toledo Streets vendor and program manager who has become close to Rooster since he started working as a vendor in early 2018. Here, she talks about how Rooster has become part of the Toledo Streets family and a valued and successful team member – and shares the maxims that he lives by.
Read Street Roots’ award-winning cultural feature: ‘She Shreds: Ripping up the rulebook on female guitarists’
Fabi Reyna is the editor of She Shreds, a groundbreaking magazine that is a revolutionary platform for female guitarists. Since being launched in 2013, the magazine has championed itself as being an inclusive space that celebrates female guitarists – a demographic that is often overlooked in the industry. Here, Reyna looks back on five years of success and contemplates what is in store in the magazine’s future. Last night at the 2019 INSP Awards, this piece won Best Cultural Feature. Now, you can read it in full.
All of us experience some degree of stress in our everyday lives. For those who are homeless, however, stress can be a debilitating and chronic issue. Street Roots talked to a number of individuals about their experiences of life on the streets and about the impact that stress has had on their lives. This is especially pertinent as delegates at this year’s ongoing Global Street Paper Summit talk about dealing with conflict and vendor welfare.
To mark the 2019 INSP Awards, we are diving into the INSP Archive to bring you the pieces crowned with editorial honours. Oklahoma City’s The Curbside Chronicle published its ‘Ghost Bikes’ photo essay last year during National Bike Month and is now the recipient of this year’s Special News Service Award.
Real Change vendor Joseph was delighted to find community, support and hope when he moved into the new shelter housed at Seattle’s King County Jail. The new shelter initially proved divisive, with some – including Real Change Founding Director Tim Harris – voicing concern about the optics of housing people experiencing homelessness in a jail. For Joseph, the shelter has been a much-needed sanctuary. He explains how staying at the shelter has changed his life for the better.
The homeless community has long been the target of police action and prosecution, often creating an insurmountable backlog of tickets and non-violent misdemeanors that can effectively shut people off from safe housing, education and jobs, and perpetuating cycles of poverty. Portland’s Street Roots partnered with other organisations on a project aimed at helping vendors attain a clean slate.
Brian Lane credits his Lummi Tribe heritage with helping him to recover from a traumatic injury: he feels that the spirit of his tribal lineage gave him the ability to pull through. Now homeless and living with a disability, Brian has found something else that is helping him to navigate his way through life: Street Roots. His involvement with the magazine has brought growth, support and the possibility of moving forward.
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.
Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. In this instalment, vendors describe how a common cold can potentially turn into a life threatening illness when they have nowhere to go to recuperate while sick.
Portland’s Street Roots has a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. In this instalment, vendors talk about how they get through Portland winters on the streets, sometimes having to resort to novel, and in some cases dangerous, ideas.
Portland’s Street Roots has started a periodic column about the parts of homelessness most people don’t talk about. In this instalment, now shared with INSP, vendors describe their experiences of picking up parasites and bugs, such as head lice and scabies, mainly at hostels and shelters, and the effect it has on an already difficult way of living.
Writing poems since he was a teenager, Street Sense Media artist and vendor Franklin Sterling has developed a unique style based in medieval English and blending other languages to create something all his own.
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.
With the 91st Academy Awards set to be broadcast on Sunday, Chicago’s StreetWise asked its vendors to view all eight movies nominated in the ‘Best Picture’ category and share their thoughts.
During this year’s #VendorWeek, Tim Harris, founding director of Seattle street paper Real Change, took part in their selling event. Paired with veteran vendor Michael, Tim found the experience challenging, but ultimately educational and rewarding, writing about it in his regular column for the paper.
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.
An unexpected message on social media brought Jamar Washington back into contact with his birth mother and family in 2018. His mother, Raelene Johnson – a Denver Voice vendor – reluctantly gave him up for foster care when he was three. This is the story of how fate brought them back together and how they are reconnecting with each other after so many years apart.
Wanda Boudrie, a vendor for Toledo, Ohio based street paper Toledo Streets, was recently named its Vendor of the Year, and to celebrate #VendorWeek, INSP is sharing her story. The publication’s director John Keegan reflects on what it is about Wanda’s personality that lights up the lives of Toledo Streets’ staff, vendors and readers.