Street Sense Media is a non-profit local newspaper in Washington, D.C., created in 2003 by Laura Thompson-Osuri and Ted Henson. Located in the Epiphany Church in downtown D.C, it employs unhoused individuals to sell the papers for a minimum donation of two dollars. Sellers keep the proceeds.
The newspaper’s model began in New York City back in 1989. Since then it has expanded to cities around the world.
Their center also trains homeless people in journalism, podcasting, photography, illustration, and other media.
The director of vendor employment, Thomas Ratcliff, leads newcomers through orientation and a class that teaches them to sell newspapers on the street. After signing a media release and a code of conduct form, they are ready to work. Her began selling the papers.
“So when I first came here, I got 10 free papers had a temporary badge…As the years went on I got better and I accumulated faithful customers,…next thing I know I have a huge fan base of customers and if I’m not at my spot at a certain time in the evening they wonder and they worry about me and they call Street Sense.”
The public can donate by visiting their website streetsensemedia.org