Prior to starting Street Sense, I had worked for many years in different capacities at shelters in Louisville and Nashville. The most powerful part of those experiences for me was hearing the stories of the people who were experiencing homelessness. No matter what awful experience someone had gone through, there was always some fragment of humanity left in them and it would often manifest through stories about growing up, or music, or home-cooking, or whatever else it was. The street paper seemed like such a brilliant idea because it empowers the individual through self-expression and also through income generation. It truly is a unique form of social entrepreneurship designed to be that first rung on the ladder out of homelessness. Luckily for all of us, enough individuals believed in the concept and mission of the paper and were willing to stand out on the corners and sell the paper through rough weather, especially when Street Sense was relatively unknown in the city. The vendors have written articles and sold the paper and really made it the integral part of the Washington, D.C.-community fabric that it is today.