NASNA Conference

Sorry, I’ve been distracted this past week.  I attended the North American Street Newspaper Association’s (nasna.org) annual conference that was held this year in Nashville.   In my own estimation, I’d say that the quality of the conference, albeit the quality of the attendees, was much improved over the last conference I attended about a decade ago.   The people running homeless/street newspapers seem more focused and more talented and more caring about the work of street papers, than in years past.  And it really shows.   Although mainstream media, and newspapers in general, are experiencing declines in readership and sales, street newspapers are experiencing unprecedented growth.  The thing is, street newsapers aren’t just a product to create and sell, they are vehicles of personal and social change.   So many homeless people’s lives have taken drastic turns for the better, for being involved in streetpapers.   And the content of these papers is telling the story of homelessness and poverty that isn’t getting out to the public through typical media.   In streetpapers, there is hope.

Now back to blogging.

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About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless

One comment

  1. Anonymous

    Glad you got to go and I personally thank you for your dedication to the cause. Homelessness is a very personal issue for us both since we've been there. It is also very touching to millions of people all across the U.S. who have been or are presently experiencing homelessness. You made a good point that homeless newspapers are not just about the sale but more about education and informing the close minded public about the magnitude of the issue. Whenever I read this, I think, WHY is the media focusing on celebrity dresses, newest tech gadgets or the latest political debate, when in fact we have people suffering and dying alone on the streets? WHY do we ALWAYS have revenues for wars abroad, bailing out wall street, endorsing multinational corporations and funding the expansion of prisons and police? That bothers me tremendously and to be frank I'm disgusted with America in general. Where is the humanity? I hear all this blather from people on both sides of the political spectrum, yet it's all the same offering no practical or sustainable solution to homelessness. A few days ago I saw a young lady pass a homeless man on the street while holding the hand of her daughter, who was more like 8yo. The daughter asked “why is that man sleeping on the street?” and the mother had no reply, she just continued to increase her walking pace while taking initiative to change the subject. I have found that people DO NOT WANT to face the issue, it scares them to death that they too may end up like so many unfortunate souls.

    We need awareness and that awareness needs to come NOT from clueless shelter representatives, government bureaucrats or worse yet the police. Public awareness needs to be grassroots oriented, it needs to come from the homeless and formerly homeless. These papers should be in circulation “daily” like your standard local newspaper. Big business should be supporting its circulation both monetarily and morally. Why? Well, because it's the right thing to do. Homeless people are a part of the community and deserve the same respect and compassion as the next person. Homeless people need for people to understand them and understanding starts by being a good listener. The newspaper should seek to educate people about peril, trauma, mental decay, broken homes, alienation and unspeakable suffering. So yes, without question people need to have access to the “truth” surrounding homelessness.

    There is no excuse whatsoever for there to be anyone on the streets in America period. Yes, a Lexus can be deemed a “luxury” but having a place to call home, even if it's a small studio/efficiency, food, clothing, medical care and education are “rights” that should be guaranteed to all citizens. That is the foundation of survival, without it you cannot grow to be a healthy contributing member of any society. Somehow in America we took the most drastic route to our thinking, rather than invest in people we chose to invest in their humiliation, desecration and incarceration. Shame on you America. Thank you Kevin, it's people like you that give me hope and a reason to fight another day.

    Respectfully.

    Anthony

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