By Ken Payton
I participate in the Street Chronicle by training vendors to sell the paper. Vendors are lower income individuals who sell the paper downtown and around the West Side Market. The vendors buy the papers at 35 cents per copy and sell each one on the streets for $1.25. They keep the profits as they ease back into the workforce.
I enjoy my job because of what the Street Chronicle represents. This paper benefits the vendors because it gives them the ability to become independent individuals who earn their own wages. This newly found independence boosts self-esteem and teaches them professionalism. Being professional promotes networking and could possibly lead to even better jobs in the future. This paper, then, is not only beneficial to lower income individuals and homeless people but to everyone in the community as well. The benefits of selling the Street Chronicle is a two way street. While the vendors are able to earn their income, the public is educated about homelessness. This paper also encourages other lower income individuals to become independent. In earning their income by hard work, the vendors inspire others who do not work. Observing the Street Chronicle vendors earning their own income, other lower income individuals might thin k that, they too, can do the same.
Also, there is often a stigma surrounding homelessness. This paper contains many articles about personal experiences of homeless people and shatter some of the false assumptions. Some of these stories can be heartbreaking but they give a face to homelessness that makes you realize that the homeless are not too different from me nor you. This paper has changed the attitudes of vendors and patrons. For instance, I once heard a new vendor say that they’re simply selling papers. Now, they tell me that they are ‘going to work’. The Street Chronicle has changed the lives of so many over the years.