Thank those of you who buy our paper. My deepest gratitude goes to those of you who have joined us in our astronomical task to educate the public about issues pertaining to homelessness and poverty. Many of you have connected with one or more of our Street Sense vendors. Others have developed positive relationships with those men and women who stand on the front line selling papers. Oftentimes I meet people who tell me that they buy their paper from a particular vendor and location. Some of you have even adopted one of our vendors and in doing so, you have recognized that he or she is a decent human being working hard to regain stability in life. Some of you have gained a deeper insight into homelessness just from reading the newspaper. And others, through their own experience, know we can no longer ignore this social dilemma. Do you know that homelessness and poverty affect the crime rate immensely? Also, I urge all of you to remember that 75% of the homeless suffer from mental illness. This, in my opinion, is the number one cause of homelessness. Continue to be patient with those vendors who exhibit behaviors that make you uncomfortable. Often times, the disorders homeless people struggle with are undiagnosed and untreated. So again, I want to thank all of you who have supported us in our concerted effort to overcome the myths and stigmas that make it much more difficult to overcome homelessness.
Last but not least, I’d like to thank all of my regular customers and businesses like Ben’s Chili Bowl and The Greek Spot at 11th & U streets NW. My name is Alvin Dixon El. I am a veteran vendor, advocate and poet. For those of you who live in the Shaw neighborhood, 13th & U streets is where you’ll find me on any given day (just outside of the Rite Aid).I’m proud to be a part of Street Sense, an organization that labors diligently to educate the public about issues pertinent to homelessness and poverty. I welcome your comments.