What Is a Street Paper?

Through the International Network of Street Papers (INSP), I found there was a way to impact the homeless population in a positive way in addition to getting these stories out to the public, the housed, the employed, the financially stable members of society. By exclusively distributing the StreetPaper through Street Vendors that must be currently or recently or at risk of being homeless.

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What is a StreetLight?

I chose the name StreetLights because of all the people I have met that have a story to tell, a story of hope, of struggle, success, tragedy and everything in between. Each one of these people were Lights on the Street full of hope, inspiration, and compassion.

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Poverty can be overcome

The Numbers Tell Their Own Story

The number of homeless people living without any kind of shelter has almost tripled since 2014, while the number of those living in some sort of shelter has dropped by 1,500. These numbers have increased over 22% just since 2018

6614

# of Phoenix Homeless 2019

3188

average unsheltered every night

3426

in Temporary Housing

500000

Homeless in USA

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Our Team of StreetLights

We are contributors, catalysts, advocators, fundraisers, authors, and so much more!

  • kymberley at work

    Kymberley

    Just a Girl with a Purpose

  • Cleopatra Talks

    Cleopatra

    Resident Dog

    • Inspiration
    • Counselor
    • Therapist
    • Entertainment
  • Laura Zaki

    StreetLights Contributor,  

    Positive Spirit Enhancer,   

    Founder of PeaceLoveHope Foundation

  • Julian Apodaca

    Julian

    Co-founder, Fellow crazy person who thinks we can change the world, Advocator, Helper Outter, Staff Photographer, Videographer, and I am hoping he will head up the vendor management and training part of the business model.  So, please be very nice to him.

The Struggle is Real

Latest Posts

StreetLights StreetPaper

It’s All About Timing

My mom always tells me that there is a good reason when I don’t get what I want. I am going to trust her on this. I didn’t make the fundraising goal by the deadline I created. This doesn’t mean anything bad is going to happen, there are no negative repercussions I can foresee.

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Housing First or Not?

The Street Fairy’s thoughts on a recent Canadian Study into the Housing First Model

I have heard about the Housing First in San Diego a few years ago, they were beginning this model of supplying housing to homeless veterans and a few county programs first, before connecting them to any other support services like Drug Rehabilitation or Recovery Programs, or Mental Health Services with the thinking that drugs and/or lack of medications were creating additional barriers to successfully receiving services.

Bullshit Propaganda from Property Owners Against the Housing First Model

I remember this because there was significant pushback from the community at large questioning those in charge of spending their tax dollars. There was a public outcry that San Diego County was now offering free housing to drug addicts, dealers and other criminals.

Obviously that is not what county officials were doing but that was the public perception and I remember it having an impact on local elections in the form of attack ads.

The idea is to offer a subsidized housing program without all the conditions that usually go along with those programs but to provide intensive support services after they were housed. There are many hoops to jump through, in a particular order and each program has different hoops, different expectations, and different results.

The Housing First model tries to postpone these barriers and focus on getting keys first. If you are homeless, let’s get you a roof and a door first, then we will have you jump through these hoops and if you don’t comply we will just drop you from the program and you can return to the streets. It seemed to make sense to many and ludicrous to others. But forward it went, and now Canada has studied its outcomes.

This article states that the study had a control group where the participants were offered traditional services and would compare it to the Housing First participants. This is very unsettling for me. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that a study requires a certain number of people to suffer without said program in order to study its effectiveness.

I wonder if I had gone to college would I be able to understand this line of thinking. I wonder how I would feel if I found out that this program was handing out keys and the girl in front of me got the keys and then was offered a whole slew of resources to help her keep it and I didn’t because I am in the control group. I got a list of hoops I had to jump through with absolutely no support or resources to tackle that list. For me, this would create a whole lot of anxiety, depression, stress, confusion, and a myriad of other emotions that I am already known to not manage very well.

The other thing I wanted to discuss about this article is the obvious.

Mentally ill homeless adults may have an easier time finding and keeping stable housing when they receive rent supplements and mental health support services, a Canadian study suggests.

Why would it take a group of Canadian Researchers, a boat load of money, a forest of paperwork, and six years to determine that those who got housing and intense support did better than those who had to stay on the streets, unmedicated, untreated with unmet needs. I don’t even have a bachelor’s degree and I can tell you this. I understand that my opinion is not proven fact and that these programs need to be studied to prove their efficacy but couldn’t they have come up with a harder fact to determine?

One of the problems I would like to study is why so many who get housing, lose it in the first 90 days? What happens when you take someone off the streets and put them into an apartment complex with 300 up close and personal neighbors. Most people in the complex also have the same voucher and therefore the coexisting mental health challenges. There isn’t any counseling, education, coping skills classes to manage this new lease, new responsibilities, quiet times, good neighbor etiquette, etc. You are just expected to know these things and behave accordingly. It is my belief that they just don’t have the skills required to manage this life, no matter how grateful they are for the housing. New recipients of subsidized housing should be offered support in making the transition from one lifestyle to the other, in my humble opinion.

I will continue to post articles on this topic. What are your thoughts on the study or the Housing First Model? What jumped out at you? What, about my commentary would you like to debate? Let me know in the comments. I look forward to a healthy (polite) discussion on this.

Housing First Model is Working…

…According to a new study in Canada

Article originally from Reuters/INSP.ngo Published in Denver Voice on January 1, 2020

A new report in Canada has shown the positive effect that Housing First has on participants has on those dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues. The results show that mentally ill homeless adults may have an easier time finding and keeping stable housing when receiving rent subsidies and health support services.

After years on the street, Kimberly Decoursey spends her nights at a Los Angeles temporary housing site called the Hollywood Studio Club. But by day, she can still be found at a highway off-ramp with her homeless fiancé and a less rule-bound street community.

Mentally ill homeless adults may have an easier time finding and keeping stable housing when they receive rent supplements and mental health support services, a Canadian study suggests.

Researchers focused on the effectiveness of Housing First, a program in Toronto that’s different from traditional approaches to housing for homeless adults with mental illness that require aid recipients to achieve sobriety and or undergo psychiatric treatment. Housing First provides immediate access to housing and mental health services without any preconditions.

All 575 participants in the current study were homeless and mentally ill, and some of them also had substance use disorders. Researchers randomly assigned them to receive Housing First services with community treatment or with intensive case management, or to a control group that only received access to more traditional support programs.

Over the first year of the study, people assisted by Housing First spent 70-72 per cent of their days in stable housing, whereas people who received traditional support services conditioned on sobriety and psychiatric treatment spent 23-30 per cent of their days in stable housing, the study found.

And by the sixth year of the study, people assisted by Housing First spent 86-88 per cent of their days in stable housing, compared with 60-78 per cent of days in stable housing for individuals who received traditional support services.

Much of this difference might be due to the higher likelihood of unmet needs among homeless adults who received traditional support services instead of immediate assistance through Housing First, lead study author Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and colleagues write in Lancet Psychiatry.

“Participants with high support needs in the TAU group maintained persistent low levels of housing stability during the study period, exposing persisting access barriers to appropriate services for this population,” Stergiopoulos and colleagues write.

“These findings highlight the unmet needs of homeless adults with mental illness and high support needs, even within a resource rich service delivery context, and the limited effectiveness of usual services in supporting housing stability for this population,” the authors write.

The study is the first to suggest that Housing First is associated with lasting increases in the number of days homeless adults spend in stable housing, especially for individuals with more severe mental health needs, the study team notes.

Housing First wasn’t associated with improvements in quality of life, reductions in the severity of substance abuse problems, or better functioning in the community, the study found. But the program didn’t make any of these outcomes worse, either.

It’s also not yet clear what specific aspects of Housing First might have had the most positive impact on the lives of homeless adults, or how easily a program like this might be replicated.

Even so, the results add to the evidence suggesting that the Housing First program does meet the needs of many adults it serves, Emmy Tiderington of the Rutgers School of Social Work in New Brunswick, New Jersey, writes in an editorial accompanying the study.

“This study adds to an extensive body of literature that has already demonstrated the positive effect of Housing First on housing stability over time,” Tiderington writes. “The major contribution of this particular study is the documentation of the effect of the intervention over a six-year period, which is the longest follow-up to date.” ■

Courtesy of Reuters / INSP.ngo

“Anyone Can Become Homeless…

…It’s just the result of circumstances beyond their control.”

Quote by John Alexander, Vendor, Denver Voice

Listen to this short interview with a vendor from The Denver Voice – Denver’s successful StreetPaper. The interview was held on Denver’s KUVO Public Radio Station with Mindi McNeil.

Click here to listen

John Alexander has been a vendor for 12 years. He speaks with Mindi about how he became affiliated with The Denver Voice, homelessness, and distorted perceptions.

Here at StreetLights – we want to make an impact on people’s lives as well, with great articles and a paper you can be proud of. We are looking forward to having 12 years’ worth of history and success. I hope you are just as inspired as I was.

Let us know what you think about what John has to say or how what you think about being a Vendor for 12 years?

This post is courtesy of KUVO Denver’s Public Radio Station.

What Are People Saying?

There is lots of talk on the streets!

  • “Chino”

    ” Kymberley is smart and I know she can make this happen, it’s a really cool plan for us to have a voice and a place to feel like we matter.  She is also really kind and makes me drink more water like I should’

    Ken (Chino) Tabar
  • Laura Zaki

    ” This is a great concept, I am excited to collaborate with you, be a contributor and help promote the finished piece.”

    Laura Zaki, Founder of Peace Love Hope Foundation
  • Holly

    “I think it’s really neat what she is trying to do to help out the homeless and give back to the community. I will be sharing a lot of resources I got connected with in the last few months and  I am excited to be featured in the newspaper too.  “

    Holly, Phoenix