Word on the Street

By April Arnold  |  Photos courtesy of WLOY

Word on the Street photography group instructor Michael Jefferson, content editor Joanna Gervais, and Sidney Bond, vendor, at Project Homeless Connect 2012.

WLOY, Loyola’s radio station, has channeled its fundraising efforts to finance the creation and operation of a new nonprofit newspaper in Baltimore, Word on the Street, led by people who have experienced homelessness. Launched this spring, the paper produces 5,000 issues quarterly and is also used as a source of income for vendors.

WLOY first connected with the paper’s founders through its award-winning radio program Both Feet In: Conversations with People Experiencing Homelessness.

The editorial team comprises people who are experiencing homelessness or who have in the past. They volunteer their time and use donated equipment. The vendors—who are also homeless—are provided with training to sell the paper, as well as additional training in writing and photography if they are interested. The vendors, who sell papers in 20 locations across Baltimore and at a variety of local events, keep 75 cents of the $1 cover price for each paper.

A vendor sells copies of Word on the Street, a newspaper benefiting people experiencing homelessness in Baltimore.

A vendor sells copies of Word on the Street, a newspaper benefiting people experiencing homelessness in Baltimore.

Each issue includes articles, poetry, and photography highlighting stories of the homeless. It also offers a resource map featuring locations of legal and employment assistance, advocacy, and reintegration programs, as well as information on how to receive mail if you have no fixed address.

Loyola students help at Word on the Street events, such as at the summer barbeque when they helped serve food at St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore that fed more than 400 homeless individuals.

“Students embrace the community service aspect and jump at the chance to help,” said John Devecka, WLOY’s operations manager. “As word spreads, more members of the community are hearing about the paper and want to get involved.”

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