Voices From the Streets

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<p>
<span lang=”EN”>The <a href=”http://www.recovery.gov/” target=”_blank”>American Recovery and Reinvestment Act</a> allocated $1.5 billion “for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing activities.” New temporary shelters are cropping up in <a href=”http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45808″ target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>vacant foreclosed properties</font>
</a>. The <a href=”http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/41472052.html” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>capitol building in Madison, WI has opened its doors to homeless residents</font>
</a> (until 6 pm that is, and then they have to find somewhere else to sleep).</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>The burgeoning homeless population has been getting more attention in the media lately. More often we hear about homelessness issues through politicians or religious organizations. What we never hear or read are

 the homeless speaking for themselves. Now is as good a time as ever to listen to what they have to say.</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>
<b>Spare Change News</b> (blog available on-line)<b>,</b> is a fortnightly <a href=”https://www.utne.com/media/homeless-newspapers-head-uptown.aspx” target=”_blank”>street paper</a> written by a mix of formerly homeless and freelancers and sold by generally homeless vendors in the Cambridge, Massachusetts area. James Shearer, co-founder of the paper and once a homeless vendor turned board president says on-line: new regulations for homeless families in MA have less funding but one good thing is that “the regulations have also been revised to allow minors to stay in shelters with their families, wheareas before they could not.”</span>
</p>
<p>
<b>
<span lang=”EN”>Street Spirit</span>
</b>
<span lang=”EN”>(current issue not on-line)<b>
</b>is a monthly publication by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization covering “Justice News & Homeless Blues in the Bay Area.” Inside the current issue is a piece reporting a National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty finding that 40 percent of families facing eviction due to foreclosure are not homeowners, but renters.</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>
<span lang=”EN”>
<font color=”#000000″>The <strong>North American Street Newspaper Association</strong> counts 27 papers from 14 U.S. states and 4 Canadian Provinces with a combined monthly circulation of over 287,000. The <strong>NASNA</strong> provides workshops and professional advice to vendors about improving content and day-to-day operations.</font>
</span>
</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>
<span lang=”EN”>
<strong>
<font color=”#000000″>The International Network of Street Papers</font>
</strong> website profiles 98 papers from around the world, each trying to “create employment for homeless people,” and letting the disenfranchised have a voice–whether they are from America, Malawi or Iraq.</span>
</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>
<em>Utne Reader</em> wrote <a href=”/2000-09-01/the-word-from-the-curb.aspx?page=2″ target=”_blank”>”The Word on the Curb” in a Sep/Oct 2000</a> article and gives a brief history of street papers and highlights a few that have inspired other start-ups.  </span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>Besides articles written on topics that concern their communities, these papers are also filled with: poetry, photos of men and women pushing over-flowing shopping carts and sitting on sidewalks, directories of organizations providing services, and of course a sodoku and crossword puzzle.</span>
</p>
<p>
<p>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>
<span lang=”EN”>
<span lang=”EN”>

</span>
</span>In her poem, “Thread,” Joan Clair writes:</span>
<p>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>To hold onto life</span>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>by a thread</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>is not weak.</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>A thread is</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>amazingly strong</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>and lasts long.</span>
</p>
<p>
<b>
<span lang=”EN”>Sources: <a href=”http://sparechangenews.blogspot.com/” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>Spare Change News</font>
</a>, <a href=”http://www.homelessempowerment.org/index.html” target=”_blank”>Homeless Empowerment Project</a>, <a href=”http://www.thestreetspirit.org/” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>Street Spirit</font>
</a>, <a href=”http://www.afsc.org/” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>American Friends Service Committee</font>
</a>, <a href=”http://www.nlchp.org/” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty</font>
</a>, <a href=”http://www.street-papers.com/” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>The International Network of Street Papers</font>
</a>, <a href=”http://www.nasna.org/index.html” target=”_blank”>North American Street Newspaper Association</a>
</span>
</b>
</p>
<p>
<b>
<span lang=”EN”>
</span>
</b>
<span lang=”EN”>(Thanks, <a href=”http://www.jsonline.com/” target=”_blank”>
<font color=”#800080″>Journal Sentinel</font>
</a>.)</span>
</p>
<p>
<span lang=”EN”>
<em>Images by <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/9281183@N03/708923893/” target=”_blank”>bullywhippit</a> and</em>
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/1115/114384541/” target=”_blank”>1115</a>
<em>licensed under <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en” target=”_blank”>Creative Commons</a>
</em>
</span>
</p>

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