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Shut Out: the pressures on Portland’s rental assistance system due to rising rents Street Roots - USA 22/08/2016

Facing unemployment and astronomic rent increases, formerly-homeless couple Julius Brown and Denise William feared that they would again find themselves on the street. They only avoided a return to living outside thanks to social services, who helped them find a new apartment and provided money to cover up-front costs. But with funds running low, many others are not so lucky in Portland’s white-hot housing market. The solution is simple, says Stacy Borke, director of housing services for social service agency Transition Projects, Inc., “Adding units to the mix is what is going to improve this, for everybody. We have an absolute shortage of housing.”

Liceulice in plea to keep street paper doors open in Serbia Liceulice - Serbia INSP 22/08/2016

Serbia’s only street paper has launched an international appeal for support, amid fears that the six-year-old social enterprise may face closure. Liceulice is facing a funding crisis, as several of their core supporters have left them “in the lurch”. Here, editor Milosav Marinović explains how the international community can help.

Olympic festival “one of the best things to happen to homeless people in Rio” INSP 22/08/2016

The 2016 Olympic Games have come to a close, with the gold medals all claimed for another four years. Away from the track and playing fields, an equally momentous occasion saw homeless representatives come together from six nations to perform in a festival of musical, theatrical and artistic events. “I think the festival is one of the best things to have happened to homeless people in Rio,” says choir member João Antonio Leandro. “I really believe the project can change the way Brazilians treat homeless people.”

Santa Clara’s “Triage Tool” pinpoints the most vulnerable on the streets Spare Change News - USA 22/08/2016

When homeless people and the poorest in communities become obscured in a sea of social, housing and health data, what is the solution to ensuring those who need shelter the most receive it? The Triage Tool used by California’s Santa Clara County provides a coordinated assessment to find residents most vulnerable in the area, resulting in their prioritisation for housing.

Homeless teen graduates high school in two years and heads to college Spare Change News - USA 22/08/2016

Washington, D.C. 16-year-old Destyni Tyree is heading to college at the end of the summer. But what makes the achievement of her graduation goals all the more prodigious is she worked her way through high school in just two years while living in the city’s largest homeless shelters. Continuing with the same astuteness, the teen is now crowdfunding the next chapter of her educational journey.

Keith Urban: a self-described ‘peacemaker' The Contributor - USA 22/08/2016

For country singer-songwriter Keith Urban – who has faced rejection, addiction, high profile celebrity and the eternal quest for more and better music – it is simplicity that holds the answer. Keeping the peace, raising the consciousness and singing the change you wish to see in the world – these goals make Urban a somewhat unlikely country star. In this interview published in The Contributor, he talks about how his inspiration has come from artists as varied as American rapper Pitbull and Texan country legend Don Williams.

Our vendors: Ion (Hinz&Kunzt, Hamburg, Germany) Hinz und Kunzt - Germany 22/08/2016

For his whole life, Romanian-born Ion has grappled with the effects of political decisions made in Eastern Europe in his younger years. He has turned his back on his native land to live in Germany. Now as a Hinz&Kunzt vendor, Ion says, “Selling the paper gives me an anchor.” It is the perfect turn of phrase for a man who dreams of a return to working and living on boats.

Cirque Bidon: a French street circus, and school of life Scarp de' tenis - Italy 22/08/2016

It’s the world’s oldest alternative circus – and now it’s going back to Italy after a 15-year absence. Powered on its travels by horses, Bidon – from the French, meaning ‘swindle’ – makes people smile and dream. Scarp de’ tenis talks to founder, François, about his journey which started following the Paris Riots of 1968 through to leading the troupe’s performances that fire the imaginations of their audiences.

Spazio Bizzaro: the cultural performance space where mistakes are approved of Scarp de' tenis - Italy 22/08/2016

Nicola Bruni and Cecilia Fumanelli had unconventional dreams by the standards of those living in their small Italian towns. Fuelled with passion and hard work, establishing themselves as a circus performer and musical therapist, respectively, led to the founding of Spazio Bizzarro, a “cultural space where we use circus performance as an educational tool.” Generoso Simeone talks to the couple who have kept their dream alive by creating a sustainable place where many skills are learned away from convention and without a fear of failure.

The Beatles in Oz: Fan memories of the Fab Four’s first visit down under The Big Issue Australia 22/08/2016

“They were so over-exposed, I said no-one would remember them in 12 months. And now we’re still talking about them 52 years later,” said Sydney-based Radio DJ Bob Rogers who travelled with The Beatles in the mid-1960s at the peak of their global adulation. Five decades on and with the release of The Beatles: Eight Days a Week, a new documentary by director Ron Howard, fans recall their experiences of being in the thick of Beatlemania as it hit Australian shores.

Big buzz for London festival of homeless artists’ work INSP 22/08/2016

With its tagline ‘We_Are_One.’ The One Festival of Homeless Arts is a two month curation of exhibitions and events exploring issues and problems around homelessness. Taking place in Central London until the end of September both founder, Dave Tovey, and the artists involved talk about the aims of the festival and the public reaction so far.

Peruvians say “No!” to violence against women IPS 22/08/2016

In the first half of 2016 alone, there were 54 femicides and 118 attempted femicides in Peru, according to the nation’s Women’s Ministry. The statistics also indicate that on average 16 people are raped every day. Following the lenient one-year suspended sentence for the rape and attempted femicide by the ex-boyfriend of Arlette Contreras, Peruvians took to the streets in numbers to protest against the rising culture of violence against women.

Banned from working, asylum seekers are building Japan's roads and sewers Reuters 22/08/2016

Even as Japanese authorities insist they leave, Kurdish migrants are working without permits on tax-funded government projects. Japan’s strict immigration rules combined with a shrinking work population has spawned a black market in labour. They inhabit a legal twilight zone, locked in lengthy struggles with an immigration system that recognised just 27 people as refugees last year. Like most Kurds, Balibay is on provisional release work without contracts, is paid in cash and can be laid off without warning.

Firefighters make leap to smokejumping Reuters 22/08/2016

At Winthrop in northern Washington state, rookies are drilled through a five-week training programme to become smokejumpers – firefighters who arrive by parachute to extinguish forest fires. On one hot day in June, Washington resident and freelance photographer, David Ryder, captured what it takes to be “the elite of the elite.”

Finding Dory: an environmental disaster waiting to happen? The Big Issue UK 15/08/2016

With the release of Finding Dory, another Hollywood-fuelled pet craze is around the corner. But blue tangs can grow to up to a foot long – and have a poisonous sting. Campaigners worry they’ll have to deal with abandoned animals again, as happened after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-fuelled terrapin craze. Meanwhile, fish are being illegally harvested from the wild, with no thought for the ecosystem. The Big Issue asks, are animal films heroes or villains?

Our vendors: Tania Croisetière-Langevin, L'Itinéraire L'Itinéraire - Canada 15/08/2016

“Despite all the tough situations I’ve been through, I know the best is yet to come,” says L’Itinéraire vendor Tania. Having experienced poverty and teenage pregnancy in her youth, and survived bullying as she got older, Tania has been hurt many times. But she says that selling L’Itinéraire is like an oxygen mask – now she has helped herself, she wants to help others.

Alpacas: cuddly lawnmowers in a North German town Bodo - Germany 15/08/2016

Indigenous to South America, 23 alpacas have found an unusual home in one German town. Bodo talks to breeder Sandra Busemann about the story behind wanting ‘a couple of lawnmowers’ for the land, which resulted in her family rearing Huacaya alpacas, a most unique kind of farm animal. The alpacas’ wool is used to produce clothing – and some even find a place as therapy animals.

“We’re still human beings”: Canada’s 13-year-old trans rights trailblazer Megaphone - Canada 15/08/2016

At just 13, trans activist Tru Wilson has already successfully taken her school to court for refusing to let her dress according to her preferred gender. Thanks to her human rights victory transgender students must be called by the name and pronouns of their choosing, and they can wear uniforms and access bathrooms that match their gender identity. Megaphone met the young campaigner, and investigated the barriers that trans people still face in Canada.

Pan African Parliament Endorses Ban on FGM IPS 12/08/2016

Globally, an estimated 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation (FGM). In Africa, FGM is practiced in at least 26 of 43 African countries, with prevalence rates ranging from 98 percent in Somalia to 5 percent in Zaire. But after years of wrangling and debates among African leaders, the movement to end the practice is gaining real momentum on the continent.

“Non-lethal” pellet guns maim hundreds in Kashmiri protests IPS 12/08/2016

Since 8 July, there have been deadly clashes between protestors and government forces in the Himalayan region of Kashmir. Pellet guns were introduced in Kashmir as a “non-lethal” alternative to bullets after security forces killed nearly 200 people during demonstrations against Indian rule from 2008 to 2010. But there is increasing evidence that these pellets cause severe harm to those shot.

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