Through the International Network of Street Papers (INSP), I found there was a way to impact the homeless population in a positive way. I could also fulfill a dream of publishing inspiring stories of homeless individuals to incite change in perspectives. I could fulfill both of these goals with A Street Paper.
Definition of a Street Paper
A Street Paper is typically a community newspaper that gives a voice to the invisible members of our society and covers topics like homelessness, poverty, recovery, government, housing, and other issues relevant to the homeless, vulnerable and at-risk populations. Street Vendors distribute the papers to the public. To qualify as a Street Vendor, you must be currently, recently or at risk of being homeless. We aim to end homelessness by providing a low barrier opportunity to earn an income.
A secondary goal is to provide a path for people to adopt a new perspective on the homeless without having to live on the streets themselves. No one on the streets wishes for others to suffer the same situation.
We offer an opportunity to be in control of one’s own destiny even if only in a small way. Being a Street Vendor is a micro-entrepreneurship that provides self-confidence. Empowerment is a critical element to long term success that is often missed.
The vendors get their first 10 papers a day for free and they can purchase additional copies for a nominal fee of 50 cents. Vendors stand on street corners, in front of high traffic businesses (in partnership with the business owner) and other high traffic areas. Vendors sell the papers for a suggested donation of $2.00. They make a minimum of $1.50 per paper. The goal is to sell a hundred paper a day.
Every hundred copies sold represent $150 directly in the hands of an at-risk or homeless person that has so many barriers to earning any other income. Tips can also increase earnings significantly. This type of income would support an apartment of their own. We would provide a work reference to aid with common barriers. We will also post local rooms for rent in the community.
Now we are talking about serious impact in the homeless community. Although we are starting at just a few hundred copies in our first month, we plan to reach 75,000 copies a month by the end of the third year. That level of production requires paid staff to handle the distribution & management of vendors, etc. Being homeless or formerly homeless is an asset to our tribe.
Having a Place to Call Home
A home is much more than a safe and secure place to rest your head. It is a keep your belongings securely without carrying with you. Frequent showers and access to clean clothing. It is difficult to access hygiene and security on the streets. That is how StreetLights will be making an impact on the Homeless community here in Phoenix. We will be following the successful business model that is currently publishing in over 40 cities across the globe.
We plan to put that 50 cents from the vendors directly into a services fund where we can expand services for our vendors like recruitment and outreach events, meals, t-shirts, vests, caps, badges, aprons, and any other accessories they might need.
Watch a Documentary about “The Contributor” the top-selling Street Paper in the country.
The documentary is over an hour long and is a little redundant in the middle, but worth the time invested. We hope to become this successful by the end of year 3.
Who is behind this Street Paper?
If you would like more information on the mission of StreetLights StreetPaper, please contact the Publisher, Kymberley Page at ThatWaterChick@TheStreetFairy.com or at 619-535-6749 during normal business hours. You can also submit your feedback and questions directly through her blog at TheStreetFairy.com.
The Street Fairy is the parent company of the StreetLights StreetPaper. The articles printed in StreetLights come from The Street Fairy website, however; space limits the printed articles. This is the causation for the second and separate websites for the Newspaper alone.
What are Street Paper Sponsorships?
Our first full-size issue, we hope to publish 2500 copies, depending on donations, we plan to be at 75,000 copies per month by the end of year 3. Initial donations were used to purchase a printer, ink, and paper. We printed hundreds of sample copies to provide potential Sponsors and Vendors an example of what our Street Paper will be.
StreetLights offers sponsorship of content. Display ads, logos or just a name give incentive to wide range of community members.
Who Are Street Paper Sponsors?
- recovery centers who spend a LOT of money on marketing,
- social service places to promote programs that are usually a requirement of a granted funds,
- charities that need to use gifted funds to promote their cause and serve the most diverse population,
- community programs that need more participants or proof that they are using granted funds properly,
- city leaders for PSA’s
- pawn shops, bicycle shops, backpack and tent sellers, harbor freight, and other businesses that many homeless people actually spend their money on.
For our first issue, we plan on printing 2500 copies of 8 pages allowing spaces for sponsor’s names, business logo or display ads. Sponsorship revenue covers printing costs and related expenses. The remaining funds will provide for Vendor services.
What Content is Covered?
The stories in the paper will come directly from the people on the streets by submitting stories to a designated email address for publication as is on the Website. Space is the limiting factor in choosing what content to publish.
We will also be profiling a featured personal story in each issue with an in-depth look into their situation, how they got there and how they are getting out. In addition to those inspirational people, we will cover current topics surrounding the homeless issue. Articles will contain news about local and national government in relation to homelessness, affordable housing projects, government funding, shelter building/closing, etc.
Looking to the Future
Investigative reporting on grant recipients is a goal, to raise awareness, provide accountability and answer questions the public wants answers to. Service Providers Q&A style interviews are another regular column.
Long-form journalism is a goal as well as articles curated from the INSP. The association offers national and global content relative to homelessness. A resource directory to connect people with community and charity services is another goal. We would like to do a Yelp! style review platform.
As you can see, a Street Paper is much more than a community newspaper. A well run Street Paper creates jobs and so much more. A Street Paper operates by donations and sponsorships from generous community members. People who support the mission to end homelessness right in our own neighborhoods.