Street Sense is a Washington, D.C.-based 16-page biweekly street newspaper that was founded in 2003. Its mission is to offer economic opportunities for people experiencing homelessness in our community through a newspaper that elevates voices and encourages debate on poverty and injustice.
The newspaper features news, editorials, poems and art about homelessness, poverty, and other social issues. About 50% of the paper is written by homeless and formerly homeless individuals and the other articles come from our staff and volunteers, who include journalists, students, advocates and a wide variety of other professionals.
Street Sense vendors pay 50 cents for each paper to cover publishing costs and then distribute each paper for a suggested donation of $2. As of June 2009, Street Sense has about 100 active vendors, selling 16,000 papers every other week, with the average vendor earning $45 a day. Vendors choose their own sales locations, and can be found in downtown D.C. and some suburbs on busy corners and near Metro stations, usually during the lunch and evening rush hours.
Last year, nearly all vendors reported a marked improvement in their lives since starting the paper. Such changes include reconnecting with family, developing their writing and communication skills, or simply gaining a sense of pride and self-respect. Street Sense not only offers its vendors a newspaper to sell, but also connects them to other service providers to meet their needs, including finding housing, accessing healthcare or enrolling them in financial management or job training classes.
Street Sense is one of about 20 street papers in the United States and more than 90 worldwide. Street papers drastically vary in size and circulation but produce social-issue focused newspapers sold by vendors who make an income on newspaper sales. For more information on other street newspaper or background on street papers in general, visit www.nasna.org.
For more information on Street Sense check out our information brochure.