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.
Jason Sheer has been involved with Street Roots for eight years and he credits the magazine with bringing an increased level of stability into his life. Here, he talks about his experience of homelessness and the support that he has received from Street Roots. He is hopeful about what the future will bring.
In the most recent count of the homeless community in Multnomah County, Oregon, 1,355 adult women were identified as homeless, making up 36 per cent of the total homeless population, a 16 per cent rise from the previous survey. Street Roots spoke to five of its vendors about what women living on the streets experience.
Jackie Turner is an artist and Street Sense Media vendor whose experience of homelessness has changed her worldview. She is acutely aware of the fact that homelessness happens for a range of reasons and that being homeless can be a depressing and hopeless experience. For Jackie, learning to love herself and appreciating the beauty around her has helped her to feel a powerful sense of connection to the world.
This year we asked vendors: if you could give a song as a present this Christmas, what would you choose? The result was the INSP Vendor Playlist, which is now available for your listening pleasure. A bunch of StreetWise vendors in Chicago explained in depth about their contributions.
This year we asked vendors: if you could give a song as a present this Christmas, what would you choose? The result was the INSP Vendor Playlist, which is now available for your listening pleasure. Street Sense vendors in Washington DC talk about their song choices, which range from festive classics to T-Pain.
As the rest of the country gears up for Christmas, US street papers mark National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day
Since 1990, communities across the US, while shoppers frantically prepare for Christmas, meet on the first day of winter and longest night of the year to commemorate those who have died while homeless in the last year. This year, 150 such gatherings took place on what is known as National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. Among them were those attended and organised by US-based street papers, accounts of which are collated here.
This year we asked vendors: if you could give a song as a present this Christmas, what would you choose? The result was the INSP Vendor Playlist, which is now available for your listening pleasure. Street Roots vendors in Portland, Oregon, run through their choices.
This year we asked vendors: if you could give a song as a present this Christmas, what would you choose? The result was the INSP Vendor Playlist, which is now available for your listening pleasure. One Step Away vendors in Philadelphia are like a microcosm of the entire street paper network – they have diverse musical tastes.
Larmarques Smith moved to Denver two years ago. Haunted by the death of his partner from an over-dose, Larmarques found it impossible to stay in Indiana, despite the fact that he had built a life for himself there. Living on the streets has been tough for him, as those around him have no knowledge of what he has been through. This is precisely what motivates Larmarques to reach out to others: he hopes to provide them with the sort of support that he himself is looking for.