April 13, 2009

Beyond Bread: News on the Street

~The New York Times is reporting that newspapers created and sold by the homeless population are receiving wider circulation despite the recession. There are a number of newspapers all over the country--providing jobs for homeless residents either writing content or collecting cash as vendors. The skills learned from these positions are easily transferred to other areas, and the news stories often deal with the underbelly of homelessness that rarely makes its way into mainstream media sources. In fact, your author is an unabashed admirer of DC’s own newspaper for the homeless, Street Sense! On their blog, Street Sense is reporting that, like so many non-profits, their support from foundations is drying up even as demand for their service increases. They’ve been forced to limit their print edition to fewer pages, and use paper that is not as pleasant to the eye.

~DCist and Washington Grantmaker’s Daily both picked up the WaPo story earlier this week that DC has seen a 15% increase in homeless families over last year. As expected, the three major perpetrators appear to be unemployment, the high cost of housing, and foreclosures.

~According to the Examiner, The Treasury Department is reporting benefit payments from the unemployment trust fund totaled $44.6 billion so far this budget year, up from $19.4 billion last year.

~Hunger in America’s Greg Plotkin is writing about fixing our food system, and though he’s talking about California, his post could just as easily be about Greater Washington. We’ve got some ideas of our own, and food insecurity is something we’ll continue to talk about until healthy and affordable food is available to all DC residents.

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