Image of a homeless man sleeping on a bench.
Elvert Barnes/ Flickr

In this issue, the first of our 13th year of publication, we are launching a more formalized opinion and editorial section of the paper. Our aim is twofold. First, we want to clearly separate the assignment, curation, editing and publication of our news and arts reporting from articles that express the opinion of the writer and/or the organization. Secondly, we want to share more opinion pieces with our readers from what we hope will be a widening circle of contributors.

To accomplish this, we have assembled a team of professional journalists who will oversee these pages. Rachel Brody is associate editor for opinion at U.S. News & World Report. Arthur Delaney is a reporter for Huffington Post. He previously wrote for the Washington City Paper, The Hill newspaper, Slate Magazine and ABCNews.com. In 2008 he won the Street Sense David Pike Excellence in Journalism award. Britt Peterson is a freelance writer, a contributing editor and columnist at Washingtonian Magazine and a columnist for the Boston Globe.

Content for these pages will come from a variety of voices. Perhaps most importantly, you will hear from men and women who are or have been homeless.

Some of those voices will be familiar to our regular readers, like the prolific vendor and writer Jeffery McNeil, Ken Martin and Robert Warren. If this section succeeds, other vendors will also lend their opinions. Additionally, we extend an invitation in these pages to nonprofit leaders, elected officials, policymakers, researchers and academics.

Opinions matter. When thoughtfully stated and shared, opinions can make a difference. Like insightful news reporting, opinions can bring focus to a problem. They can spur dialogue. They can change hearts and minds. They can create the opportunity for change.

Street Sense was born out of a conviction that homelessness is unacceptable, an ugly blemish that reflects poorly on the values of our community. The pages of this paper, and the content of all Street Sense media, is meant to have an impact on those who consume it. We are out to change the way you think about homelessness, and the men and women it banishes, out of a hope that you will take action. On these two pages, we are going to go beyond sharing what we have learned about homelessness. We are going to tell you what we and others think about it, and what we believe should be done to end it.
And if anything you read here, or elsewhere in the paper, spurs you to opinions you want to share, please consider submitting an opinion piece of your own. Letters to the Editor and longer opinion pieces from our readers are most welcome in these pages. Send them to us at [email protected]

Brian Carome is the executive director of Street Sense.