Homeless: Fighting to Remove the "Less"
By Joan Muwahed
September 11, 2018
Newspaper vendors sell issues on the streets of Washington D.C. with the aim to improve their living-conditions, Sunday.
Street Sense is a bi-weekly newspaper sold by self-employed homeless distributors. The slogan of the newspaper is “real stories, real people and real change.”
The paper aims to help low-income and homeless people earn a living.
According to the Street Sense newspaper, Street Sense was founded as a street paper in 2003 and continues to evolve into something much brighter. It has become more than just a paper sold on the streets. It is now a multimedia center that uses different creative platforms such as film, theatre, photography, audio, and graphic design. The different mediums are used to help shed light on homelessness and finding solutions to assist in empowering lower-income Americans.
About the Executive Director
Executive Director of Street Sense Media Brian Carome has been in the business for over 20 years. Carome said that with 135 vendors in total, vendors continue to be recruited most effectively by word of mouth.
Current vendors meet or see potential vendors who are homeless and help them join, Carome said.
Over time, most vendors see an improvement in
their living situation but that does not mean their
living situation is automatically stable, he said.
Street Sense works hard to link individuals to limited yet affordable housing options. Carmone said that the newspaper sees the greatest improvements in the vendors' income, health, and quality of life.
"Vendors begin to have positive relationships and start participating in meaningful activities," he said.
A Vendors Story
Duane Foster is one of many vendors that try to earn a living by selling on the streets of D.C. He sits by the 24-hour CVS store in Tenleytown and tries to sell newspapers from dawn till dusk.
Vendors buy the bi-weekly newspaper for 50 cents per copy. Vendors like Foster then sell them for two dollars or more. Foster explained that he only gained economic independence through participating in the newspaper.
The current homeless vendor occasionally scripts stories that paint vivid images of what it is like to be in a homeless man’s shoe.
The vendor is presently writing a fictional series in the newspaper about the chronicles of a homeless man.
Fans on the Street
"Vendors begin to have more positive relationships and start participating in meaningful activities."
Foster has made many friends by working as a vendor. He frequently is stopped by multiple visitors. In the video below Eric Golden, a local D.C. resident stops by Duane for a quick chat. Golden said he visits Duane four times a week.