For New Year’s Eve, we have a bumper series of vendor wishes to share from Chicago. We particulary enjoyed Steven’s plea to everyone to support the street paper movement in 2017: “Street papers don’t just exist in Chicago. They exist in different cities, different countries, different continents; it’s a worldwide programme, and it’s worth keeping alive.”
Read more vendor wishes here.
By Donald Morris, John Hagan, Steven Riggs and VW who sell StreetWise in Chicago, USA
Donald Morris, 63
StreetWise is a top priority for me in 2017 – getting magazines and selling them and being able to keep on and keep making the customers satisfied with the product we produce. The big thing is going to be getting interested in my customers and my customers getting interested in me and promoting the magazine the best way I can because sales are very important and tie into how you communicate with your customers.
I got to learn how to deal with Trump and his administration and what we’re going to do while we are going through 2017. My fear is that in 2017 we will go to war with Iran or North Korea or something that is going to take away from the vendor force, that people 17 and up would be forced into that type of matter.
Some homeless people, a job can be the answer to their problems. Other homeless people need a more intense programme like StreetWise where they have to generate their own hours and learn how to work and have a work schedule and people trust in them, they have to learn how to people trust again. It’s a lot of different things we have to deal with because there are so many different types of homeless people. Some need to go through drug programmes, alcohol programmes. Others probably need to deal with their social contact problems that they have.
This time next year I’ll be at StreetWise, doing what I do. Dealing with a walker, dealing with physical therapy, getting back on my feet and working with my stroke conditions and taking my medications the right way and listening to my doctor and really knowing what this man is telling me and how I’m going to be obedient and let this thing work for me.
John Hagan, 46
In 2017 I’d like to have more money to travel because I haven’t travelled outside of the Chicago area in three years. I would like to go to Miami, Las Vegas or LA.
Jobs, jobs, and jobs – that’s the key to tackling homelessness. Have people stop being dependent on government and start being self-sufficient.
To street paper readers, I’d say: hang in there and see how it works out. Never give up.
Steven Riggs, 49
In 2017, I want to be able to pay rent somewhere. I’m tired of being homeless. Right now, I’m staying with family, and it’s hard on them, so I need to be able to pay rent somewhere. Right now, I can afford to pay a good $400 for rent, maybe $500. I’m looking for a place where $400-500 is market-rate. So if you run across any places, let me know.
In 2017, I’m looking forward to building more customers who buy their magazines with a credit card since I just got my Square and gear to take both Apple and Droid Pay. There’s also a portable magazine stand that I’m about to purchase, and I’m looking forward to using that in 2017. And I want to be able to pay rent somewhere. Those are my main three goals.
The government needs to promote StreetWise and come up with more similar programmes!
I would like to see another movie about StreetWise. I would even like to see a book about StreetWise. I’m even thinking about doing a book- maybe I can say everything into a recorder and give it to someone else to write. I wouldn’t mind seeing a pamphlet all about one person like the profiles we do in the back of the magazine. I would love to dig deeper into people’s histories and find out what kind of work people used to do, how they lost their jobs, how they lost their shelters, and what they did to gain that back. All that’s not an overnight thing, and there’s more to be said about everyone’s stories. We could even put together a collection and that could be our book.
My biggest fear is going back to jail for something I didn’t do. I just spent six years in jail for something I didn’t do. I try to stay out of the police’s way, but a lot of the people that I share my story with and talk to outside of StreetWise are criminals! Just to make it plain, they’re doing some illegal activities, and they’re cool to me; we’ve got the utmost respect for one another, but I don’t want the police to roll up and know what kind of activity someone else is doing and just lump me in with the crowd.
I would like to have my own one-bedroom or studio somewhere on the North side in one of the neighbourhoods I sell in. Maybe even Uptown. I just want to get a place on the North side so that I don’t have to travel so much to get to work in the morning. I want to be able to furnish it with a flat screen TV, a full size bed, some cooking sets with measuring cups, thermometers to check the temperature of the meats, a knife set—because I love to cook.
Street papers don’t just exist in Chicago. They exist in different cities, different countries, different continents; it’s a worldwide programme, and it’s worth keeping alive. It’s one of the best programmes around because an individual can actually work their way out of poverty or work their way out of homelessness.
I want customers to know that street papers are worldwide, and when you purchase a StreetWise, you’re not just helping me as a vendor or StreetWise in Chicago; you’re also helping INSP. INSP shares articles with all the street papers, and when you support StreetWise, you’re telling INSP that Chicago’s content is worth sharing in other parts of the world. Your $2 is going to vendors like me, but the impact of your $2 is going all over the world to help other papers and vendors you’ve never met.
In 20917, I wish to get established in my disability benefits. According to their requirements, it’s looking as though I will get approved.
I believe that a lot of the rich people, the very wealthy people, if they could step in and join forces and use monies that they would be willing to donate, to give away to provide housing for those, to put an end to homelessness. I’m assuming the city doesn’t have funding so it would be wonderful for people to donate funding for those who just cannot get housing and provide supportive housing for them.
My fear is that there are people who have mental illnesses who don’t bathe and eat out of the garbage, which is harm to self. And these people need to be taken care of.
This time next year I’d like to still be a StreetWise vendor and stop procrastinating and get things done. Some things I want to help contribute ideas to humanity, I have influential words to say that would be effective, I think.