Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New 14th Street Blog Gives Street Sense a Thumbs-Up

Check out this 14th Street blogger who picked up a copy of Street Sense thinking it was "a load of bunk" and who wound up recommending that Metro commuters read it as an alternative to Express. Here's what he or she had to say:

"Out of curiosity, I picked up a copy of Street Sense this week. Until now I'd been walking by vendors near Whole Foods and the Dupont Metro almost daily. I'm happy to share that it appears to be a legitimate paper backed by a great pro-homeless organization. (Admittedly, I had originally expected to deride the publication as a load of bunk, and my motivation for purchasing Street Sense was mostly to provide fodder for this blog.)

"What's very cool about Street Sense is that 75 cents on the dollar goes to the person selling it. All of the vendors are indeed homeless who work as independent contractors, and some also serve as contributing writers. I was very pleased to learn that this paper has provided a more dignified alternative to panhandling as a source of income for those on the streets.

"The organization itself is an above-board 501 (c)3. (I haven't conducted any serious investigative journalism, but I have confirmed that they are listed by the IRS as a non-profit.) Page two of the paper gives a full disclosure of their donors, vendor code of conduct, board members, contact information, mission, and editorial policy. Better still, the inside back page is used for a "Community Service Index" of shelters, food banks, and other services for the homeless.

"The content mostly relates to issues of concern for the homeless and low-income communities such as the location for the new Central Union Mission and Fenty's poverty agenda. For those who are not personally involved in issues of social justice or homeless advocacy, it could be a little overwhelming to regularly read the biweekly paper. But perhaps it could be an occasional alternative to passing time on the Metro with the Express."

Considering the Express comes out every day and we come out every two weeks, serving as "an occasional alternative to the Express" works for us. It sure beats being mistaken for "a load of bunk" any day.

We'll get more such conversions as more people become aware of our unique publication. We're at nearly 11,000 readers per issue and counting. Please spread the word!

-- Koki Smith