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Bus Fare Blues

Exploring the hidden corners of Seattle

Tag Archives: Nonprofit

Real Change - Seattle Street PaperWhen you walk around downtown Seattle you might notice homeless people standing on street corners selling newspapers. The paper is Real Change, and it provides a fascinating, on-the-ground view of life in Seattle. Street paper content varies from city to city: I remember the Street Sense paper in Washington, DC was written predominately by the homeless themselves. It contained a mix of opinion pieces, narratives, poems, and local news. Real Change contains high-quality content on a broad range of social issues by staff reporters, religious leaders, and researchers. They recently converted from a monthly into a weekly paper and I assume that has increased their volume.

Street papers are a wonderful idea — they’re an example of microfranchising — a “business in a box” usually adapted for the poorest members of society, that enables them to climb out of poverty through entrepreneurship. Papers are sold to the homeless for $.35, who sell them on street corners for $1.00. So not only do they give a voice to homelessness issues, but they provide jobs in the process — an elegant solution to poverty.





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