What follows is the original intended structure of StreetWise. Unfortunately, it was not possible to operate in this way due to our efforts being undermined by negative influencers among the homeless community and a resistance to what it might realistically mean for those who successfully engaged with our programme.
There is a lot at stake in homelessness: economically, socially, culturally and politically. If the problem lessens, so do the rewards for those who have a stake in it. A cynical view but this is a reality. Just as much of a reality as the causes of homelessness being so much more complicated than housing alone, than education alone, than mental health alone.
We are not naive enough to believe that the programme is a one size fits all, end homelessness solution – whatever anyone may say, there simply isn’t one of those – but it has the potential to make a difference to a few thousand people in the long run.
So, we would like to keep the spirit of StreetWise alive and find a way to support homeless individuals. Our profits – if we are lucky of have any – will do just that.
Here are the headlines from October 2017
21st Century street paper which adapts to ever changing needs and lifestyles, and endeavours to bridge the widening gap between the homeless and the society they aspire to live in
0% administration costs, protecting the integrity of its charitable funds
Third party referral programme for homeless individuals who don’t want to be homeless anymore
Maximum 5 year programme – not prolonging homelessness nor the journey out of it
Not a penny is made out of the homeless
Content you will want to read in affordable publications
To empower those who are homeless to re-establish their place in society.
By funding access to improved health and well being and by inviting them to build a personal fund for training and education, career guidance, debt counselling, employment, and housing.
So they can build a future for themselves in line with their goals and aspirations, and to prevent a repeated cycle of homelessness.
Respect, appreciate, celebrate and encourage the efforts of our SPPs, readers, volunteers and staff, and the value they bring to the StreetWise community.
Trough their input, experience and enthusiasm, every member of the StreetWise community holds equity in its endeavours and outcomes.
We acknowledge that our SPPs may face personal challenges that have no easy solutions.
Provide an environnent for our SPPs to identify their goals and aspirations and encouragement to work towards them.
FAIR AND BALANCED
Consistently operate in a fair and balanced way, being clear about our framework, underpinned by our operational guidelines.
To provide insight for StreetWise community members, regulatory bodies and the general public on the operational and financial principles upon which the StreetWise foundations are sited. To publish annual accounts in our weekly publication and, with the permission of our SPPs, report on their progress through the programme.
To produce social impact reports to measure our progress, and to follow up on our SPPs’ journey beyond the StreetWise programme.
The StreetWise Proposition
Our aim is for StreetWise programme participants (SPPs), readers, staff, volunteers and our partners to build a community to enable homeless individuals to get healthy, solvent, retrained and educated, employed, and ultimately re-housed.
If you have recently spent any time in a major town or city, you will have noticed the number of homeless people living on the streets. We are living in unprecedented times where there are more people sleeping rough than ever before.
A shortage of social and affordable housing means that single homeless people fall through our social safety net. Once a person is sleeping on the streets, in shelters, or hostels, it is very difficult to transition back into mainstream society.
There are many organisations working hard to address the immediate needs of the homeless. One familiar solution is homeless people selling a magazine for a cash income, a practice which first became popular in the U.S.A. Since then, the concept has not evolved beyond a homeless person buying street papers to sell on; until now.
Founded by a veteran Royal Engineer, who has experienced homelessness and sold the Big Issue for several years, StreetWise is a new, 21st Century, fully integrated, independent street paper system, which puts the homeless at the heart of its structure.
The StreetWise system seeks to:
- establish a pilot office in Manchester, with satellite hubs throughout the North West
- take referrals from homeless service providers who have knowledge of their clients and are able to assess the likelihood of them engaging with the StreetWise programme
- invite referrals to sign up to the StreetWise agreement, within which are details of a community reward fund they may be eligible for and a pledge to which they commit to as an SPP
- offer StreetWise, a weekly, general interest magazine which SPPs will buy for 50p per copy and sell for a cover price of £1. The 50p they pay will be added to the community reward fund
- offer three monthly supplements: Stood Down, which will be sold by homeless veterans with content for the military community; Under the Rainbow, with content for the LGBTQ community; and Crash, with content on youth culture. SPPs will pay 75p per copy and sell them for a cover price of £2. The 75p they pay will go into a health and wellbeing fund
- offer the publications online with the proceeds going to SPPs’ community reward funds
- encourage the general public to donate to their SPP’s community reward fund rather than give tips
- become self-sustaining, with 0% administration costs, covering overheads and expnasion with advertising revenue
- enable SPPs to address health and wellbeing issues, access training and education, repay debts, and access funding for housing and associated costs whilst on the programme
- offer the programme for a maximum of 5 years
- aim to build a StreetWise network of sales offices and satellite hubs in 20 UK regions
The following example illustrates the potential of StreetWise: an SPP who sells 200 copies a week of StreetWise will, over the course of a 12 month period, earn over £5,000 in cash and have over £5,000 saved into their community reward fund, along with any public donations. Monies will never be paid to an SPP, instead providers will be paid directly.
We have been lucky enough to attract private investment and a grant from the Peter Kershaw Trust, the family trust of the Joseph Holt Brewery. To ensure that we operate successfully during our first few months, ideally we would like further funding. Any excess funding will be used to extend the StreetWise programme to other UK regions. We will never use you money to pay ourselves big salaries, drive big cars, or award ourselves lucrative benefits. Our basic staff framework will incur only reasonable overheads.
We would like to invite you to become a partner in minimising the effects of homelessness and help us to provide a workable solution for those who wish to engage with it. Any donation, however large or small, will help us to build the foundation for the StreetWise community.