Beginning a New Decade
With this issue, Street Sense completes its tenth year of publication. We are proud to have reached this milestone in partnership with our readers and the hard-working, resilient men and women who take advantage of the opportunity that vending and writing for Street Sense offers. About one dozen vendors distributed our first issue. Since then, over 500 more have followed in their path.
Many non-profit organizations – including ones that delivered exceptional, important services – were unable to see their way through the great recession of 2008. Likewise, many print publications that were thriving in 2003 have been driven off the newsstand by the winds of change. In 2003, it was impossible to predict the full effect of the digital revolution. That said, it was not the most opportune time to launch a new print newspaper. I imagine as they began editing what would become Volume 1–Issue 1, Street Sense founders Laura Thompson Osuri and Ted Henson had to wonder if their passionate dream was sustainable. Ten years later, we are still delivering news, commentary and feature articles with a focus and perspective that simply cannot be found anywhere else.
Today, over 120 vendors distribute our paper daily throughout the District of Columbia. Many also write for the paper, giving readers an opportunity to experience the unfiltered face of homelessness. Twenty-six times a year, issue by issue, story by story, we provide a chance to gain a deeper, more accurate understanding of the issue of chronic homelessness, how it afflicts our community and what can be done to alleviate it.
In 2003, Osuri and Henson introduced the two-pronged mission of the paper to readers with these words: “The main objective of Street Sense is to make the public more aware of issues related to poverty and homelessness. Its secondary goal is to provide homeless people with an economically beneficial opportunity and forum to be published” (Street Sense Mission Statement and Editorial Policy, Street Sense, Volume 1–Issue 2, December 15th, 2003).
Over the last twelve months we have looked back and celebrated our successes and the accomplishments of our vendors, and paid tribute to our readers and all of the individuals and corporate donors who have supported us. We also began to explore new platforms from which we can “make the public more aware of issues related to poverty and homelessness.” Lessons of Hope is an ongoing series of public forums at which panels of experts discuss particular aspects of homelessness. And Staging Hope is an exciting new partnership between Street Sense and the Department of Theater and Dance at The George Washington University that combines the talents, stories and perspectives of our vendors with the power of playwriting and staged performance.
As we move into our second decade, we hope our readers continue to take advantage of the opportunity that Street Sense offers to discover common ground with the homeless men and women who distribute the paper. It is in these crossroads that we can repair the fabric of our community.