In 1999, Debbie Nichols held a prominent job and was an active member in her community, but an abusive relationship and a drug addiction set her down a troubling path. Luckily, Nichols found street paper Real Change, which she said made a positive impact in helping her find her way back to her normal routines.
WATCH: INSP and street paper staff discuss their work and its impact on panel hosted by Society of Professional Journalists
‘Empowering The Poor: Street Newspapers and their Global Impact’ was panel hosted by the Society of Journalists on Wednesday 18 August. Moderated by founder of Real Change and INSP board member Tim Harris, the discussion included members of staff from INSP and its associated member publications. Watch the panel again here.
Outgoing Street Roots editor Joanne Zuhl: “Seeing how far we’ve come is heartwarming. It’s a testament to the hundreds of vendors and volunteers, writers and readers who believed in our mission”
As she prepares to leave the Portland street paper after more than 18 years at the helm, Street Roots editor Joanne Zuhl talked to INSP about her lengthy stint leading one of the street paper network’s most established publications and where she leaves the paper after one of the most unpredictable years of her tenure.
Portland street paper vendor Chris Drake discusses misconceptions about trans people and what visibility means to him.
Despite the uncertainty caused by pandemic lockdowns, Street Sense has made progress and is now going weekly. Located in the US capital, Street Sense Media will start publishing street papers every week starting today (14 April). This increase in frequency is also predicted to attract more vendors and increase their weekly earnings. Testimonials from vendors and INSP show excitement and anticipation for this growth in the street paper.
With Covid vaccines being rolled out differently across the world, that means marginalised and vulnerable communities in different parts of the world are receiving immunisation at different rates. But it does mean some good news: street paper vendors are beginning to receive the jab, and with the world opening up again, that’s more than welcome.
Brook Fadley discusses the lack of safe and accessible housing infrastructure in her op-ed, the last in a series in collaboration with housing advocacy group Community Change. She writes that many people are vulnerable to homelessness due to the pandemic and the government needs to step up to solve it, urging the Biden Administration to pass the New Deal for Housing Justice.
Idalia Rios discusses the definition of homelessness in this op-ed, the latest in a series in collaboration with housing advocacy group Community Change. To this immigrant mother, you can be homeless even if you have a roof over your head. She writes how proper housing, a foundation for a family, is a home. She urges the community to take action and to step into someone else’s shoes to provide more people with real homes.
“The government should be the helping hand because we are just starting off on our own”: US college students battle basic needs insecurity
Three in five college students in the United States faced problems like housing insecurity or hunger in 2020. Despite their effort to receive a higher education, many students are neglected by their institutions and the government in terms of basic needs. Strides are being made across the US by students and nonprofits to combat these issues.
Songs we love: Curbside Chronicle vendors shout out the tunes they hold close alongside top-tier musicians
Who doesn’t have a song that’s made a special impact on their life? The Curbside Chronicle reached out to musicians from across the US, as well as a few of their own street paper vendors, to weigh in on the tracks that have changed the way they look at the world.
In the second of a series of columns about the Housing Playbook initiative to influence policy direction in the US around housing and homelessness by advocacy group Community Change, Zella Knight, an LA County housing commissioner, writes about how those with experience of the system are integral to changing it.
Recently, the long gestating flower shop project of Oklahoma City street paper The Curbside Chronicle finally opened. Here, we take an inside look at the opening day of Curbside Flowers, in downtown Oklahoma City, which provides people transitioning out of homelessness a workplace for their blossoming talents — one bouquet at a time.
Triple Grand Slam winning tennis star Naomi Osaka: “The way I see it, I’m not half anything – I feel both Japanese and Haitian fully”
Tennis player Naomi Osaka rose to the summit of her sport by the age of 23. The three-time Grand Slam winner, who is Japanese-Haitian-American, drew particular attention last year when she wore masks emblazoned with the names of Black victims of police violence during the US Open, all while winning the tournament. In this wide-ranging interview during her preparations for the ongoing Australian Open, she spoke to INSP about her heritage, activism and using her platform for good.
Housing for the future: Andreanecia M. Morris on how the Housing Playbook Project will shape government’s responsibility to provide a home to those who need it
In this Q&A, housing advocate and expert Andreanecia M. Morris talks with Community Change communications fellow Darryl Lorenzo Wellington about the US housing crisis and recommendations for the new administration and Congress as part of the Housing Playbook Project.
Chicago street paper StreetWise and digital storytelling organisation Rivet recently collaborated to produce Where I Stay, a serialised documentary exploring “invisible homelessness”, housing instability and economic injustice in the United States. It centres around Angelica, who was kicked out of her home at age 12 due to family dynamics, but never lived on the street. Prisons, Vegas condos, the living room of a drug queenpin and an inpatient facility for adolescents all followed. In this series of standalone articles to support the podcast, StreetWise meets Angelica and speaks with local experts on the subject of youth homelessness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.