To celebrate its anniversary, Montreal street paper L’Itinéraire invited its talented vendors to take charge of the paper for a very special edition. As its name suggests, 100% Vendors is written and designed entirely by vendors. It is the result of three months’ of workshops in which top journalists in Montreal mentored vendors. Editor Josée Panet-Raymond talks to INSP about the project’s future and the importance of getting vendors involved in their street paper.
Canadian street paper Megaphone is to deliver an in-depth investigation into ending homelessness after their crowdfunding campaign to fund the project raised an incredible $10,000 in 36 hours. The paper will use the money to hire a dedicated journalist to produce solutions-based reporting on the homelessness crisis in British Columbia. “This project will create impactful journalism that drives change thanks to the amazing community behind Megaphone,” Operations Manager Jessica Hannon told INSP.
German street paper TagesSatz has raised more than €10,000 in the last year through a scheme that encourages supermarket customers to donate their refunds from recycling bottles. By placing bright red collection boxes next to popular bottle-recycling machines in local supermarkets, TagesSatz has brought in the money it needs to provide essential support for the paper’s team. INSP learns how the bottle recycling scheme benefits street paper vendors.
Over tea and scones in a small café in Glasgow, Scotland, a new project is giving Big Issue vendors the language skills they need to sell more magazines, and move on to other jobs. INSP paid a visit to Milk Café to find out how Polish vendor Sebastian Rudkiewicz is benefiting.
Faced with rising rent costs and a competitive housing market, securing affordable housing is a huge challenge for homeless vendors in Kiel. But the local street paper has come up with an ambitious solution. INSP reports on Hempels’ plan to set up a social business that will purchase mobile homes and small apartments across the city, and rent them out to vendors who would otherwise struggle on the open housing market. Vendor Andreas explains what securing permanent housing will mean to him.
OKC street paper The Curbside Chronicle celebrated the beauty and strength of vendors with a stunning makeover and fashion shoot in its current edition. The featured vendors are also inspiring examples of the paper’s strong track record of helping vendors secure permanent housing and employment. Editor Ranya O’Connor tells INSP why collaborating with Curbside vendors on editorial projects is vital to breaking down visual stereotypes that often stigmatise the homeless.
Street Roots vendors share their stories of homelessness and sleeping rough in a visually stunning black and white zine published by the Portland street paper. As well as earning vendors an extra income, writing for the zine has also given them an opportunity to share their accounts of sleeping on the streets in their own words. “It’s an opportunity for people to hear about homelessness from our side,” contributing vendor Cathy Everett told INSP.
At the request of its vendors, Danish street paper Hus Forbi has released a free issue as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations. The special edition says thank you to readers and champions those who sell it. Despite doing away with their usual cover price, editor Poul Struve Nielsen tells INSP the publication is actually bringing in more money for vendors.
Italian street paper Scarp de’ tenis, which joined INSP’s international movement last year, celebrated its 200th edition in April. The historic edition featured people who have embodied what the street paper means to its vendors and readers over the last 20 years. This includes vendor Antonio Mininni, 70, who has been involved with the street paper since its very first edition. Editor Stefano Lampertico tells INSP about the anniversary edition and why vendors continue to be at the heart of the street paper.
After recording a spike in “unnecessary” homeless deaths in British Columbia, Vancouver-based street paper Megaphone is taking the government to task. Its report, Dying on the Streets, recorded a shocking 70% increase in largely preventable deaths of homeless individuals in 2014. Executive director Sean Condon tells INSP more must be done to stop homelessness becoming “an early death sentence” for the province’s most vulnerable.
Inspired by a similar project from Greek street paper Shedia, Invisible Edinburgh will reveal the hidden corners of Scotland’s capital city by employing homeless and formerly homeless people as their tour guides. INSP attended the project launch to find out more from the project’s founder Zakia Moulaoui, who has also worked with the Homeless World Cup, and future tour guide Biffy, whose unique city tour will be on the theme of ‘Powerful Women’.
In Ethiopia, protests over the rights of the country’s Oromo people – Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group – continue to put pressure on a government which holds a bloody history of “pacifying” peaceful protests. The protests stem from the Ethiopian government’s plans to expand the capital Addis Ababa’s limits into Oromia. But observers tell IPS that the Oromo’s frustrations over issues such as land ownership, corruption, and political and economic marginalisation are shared by many disenchanted Ethiopians.
A formerly homeless street paper vendor from Michigan has created an activity book to help children and their parents better understand homelessness. Randy Parcher has experienced homeless in Traverse City for seven years and has sold and written for Speak Up since the paper launched in 2014. He hopes his book – aimed at children aged seven and under – will also act as a fun teaching tool in schools.
A much-loved former Big Issue vendor has launched her own with solo art show. When Jo Adamson sold The Big Issue in Glasgow, Scotland, she was well-known for her creativity – singing as she sold the paper. Now she is inspiring her former colleagues by starting her own visual art business, despite being partially sighted. INSP spoke to Jo as she hung her paintings ahead of the exhibition.
This April, The Big Issue UK celebrates 200 million magazines sold across Britain over the last 25 years – every one of them putting money in the pocket of someone living in homelessness or poverty. In following the simple mantra ‘A hand up not a hand-out’, the street paper has allowed the poorest in Britain to earn more than £100 million. Celebrations included a collectors’ edition of the magazine with cover art by street artist Ben Eine and national news coverage.
When he found himself homeless after a break-up, Bud Stratford’s experiences turned him into a homelessness activist. Volunteering as INSP’s LA correspondent, he recently covered the latest in a long line of confrontations between the city’s well-known Tiny House builder Elvis Summers and the authorities. He found city officials very resistant to the tiny house movement sweeping across the US – and competing explanations for why that is.
When Bud Stratford became homeless, he had people to turn to. His father let him set up a tiny makeshift home in the parking lot of the family business, where Bud worked. But he quickly realized others weren’t so lucky. His experiences offering help to a fellow homeless man called Dave, showed Bud that in the USA the very right to exist is contingent on owning property. He is now a committed advocate for homeless people - and for the controversial Tiny Homes movement currently battling against the local government in LA.
Amputee football may not be the most recognisable of disability sports, but the fast-paced and competitive game is slowly growing in popularity. INSP meets the amputee football players, coaches and advocates working to promote the sport around the world. Their ultimate goal is to compete at the Paralympics.
Things looked bleak for Joel Hodgson when he was first forced to sleep rough in London seven years ago. But today, Joel works for one of the city’s biggest law firms on Fleet Street, and was even a torch bearer at the London 2012 Olympics. The turning point was when he walked through the door of The Big Issue, he says. Joel recounts his extraordinary journey.
Hundreds of homeless men and women in London are to benefit from recycled laptops. The ‘Laptops for Homeless Support Initiative’ restores unwanted hardware then donates the devices to homeless and vulnerable people supported by London charity Thames Reach, which also provides IT skills training. INSP learns how having access to the internet will make a huge difference to people like Peter Gibbs, who has been homeless on and off for 11 years in the UK capital.