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.
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.
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. Street Sense vendors in Washington DC talk about their song choices, which range from festive classics to T-Pain.
Chon Gotti, a vendor and salesman, discusses how he found himself without housing and how he moved beyond that point. A former officer, an advocate and parent, Gotti sees life as a matter of pride, confidence and strength. Along with discussing his business strategies, Gotti works to be a reminder that the homeless are not a stereotype, but people just like anyone else.
U.S. campaigner Michael Stoops, who passed away this week, spent decades fighting for people experiencing homelessness. Street Sense pays tribute.
Humble social entrepreneur Kazi Mannan opens the door of his restaurant to the city’s homeless community, as a place to eat for free.
Hundreds gathered in Washington D.C.’s Franklin Square Park for a community event organised by former Street Sense vendor Don Gardner.
Washington D.C social entrepreneur Amr Arafa’s EmergencyBnB is more than just AirBnB with a twist. It’s offering hope to refugees and victims of domestic violence.
Street Sense vendor Eric Thomson-Bey recently left Washington D.C. for employment on a farm in Pennsylvania. He reflects on his new rural life.
In this uplifting and inspiring personal essay, Damon Smith explains exactly what it means to be a street paper vendor. He reveals how selling Street Sense in Washington D.C. helped him overcome the “mental torture” of homelessness.
“I felt the reality of poverty,” says Martin Walker of his upbringing in Southeast DC. His mother worked full-time but paying the bills for her five children was a constant struggle.
Reagan National Airport near Washington DC recently changed their rules to “effectively ban homeless people from staying there.” Street Sense vendors report.
“I find it outrageous that in a country with such wealth, we have people who are living outside,” says Street Sense director. Listen to the interview here.
A social worker at a street paper is rare, but Julie helps Street Sense vendors into housing and back on their feet.
UPDATE: We’re happy to report that this project has been fully funded. A Washington DC street paper is tapping into the creativity and sales experience of its vendors to help them start their own digital […]