- On Air Program Guide
- A Blue View
- Brain Talk
- Cellar Notes
- Choral Arts Classics
- The Environment in Focus
- Gil Sandler’s Baltimore Stories
- Humanities Connection
- Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast
- Midday with Dan Rodricks
- The Morning Economic Report
- Radio Kitchen
- The Signal
- Take Five
- Your Maryland
- Public Commentary
- War of 1812 Stories
Street Paper, Word On The Street, Takes On Homelessness in Baltimore
You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.
February 21, 2013
Conventional newspapers may be shrinking, but there is a growing trend towards publications that have found a niche. One paper here in Baltimore is the ultimate in advocacy journalism -- it's by Baltimore's homeless population and its advocates. WYPR's Mary Rose Madden has the story.
Mary Rose Madden: Word on the Street is full of reporters and editors who don’t need to be reminded to keep their ears to the ground.
Damien Haussling: I’ve been homeless myself for the entire past ten years and I’m tired of it.
Madden: Damien Haussling is one of those reporters.
Haussling: I’m able to speak out and try to fix it.
Madden: Of the hundred volunteers, who work on the paper most are homeless now or have been in the past. Haussling says it’s hard to get out a paper when you don’t have a permanent home.
Haussling: To go to the “regular” shelter, they start lining up and doing their head count about noon every day. So it’s very tough to get work done and do anything. I actually prefer to camp out somewhere. But when it’s very cold, I’m not stupid, I go to the shelter.
Madden: Haussling is sitting at an oval table, overlooking the city on the fourth floor of Healthcare for the Homeless on Fallsway. He says, they have their editorial meetings around this table; but not for long, because they’ll soon be moving.
Haussling: We won two grants that we must use for office space.
Madden: Haussling points to a building across the way.
Haussling: The building with the green and white sign on it – that’s the building. It’s absolutely perfect.
Madden: The new office space is a reflection of how far the quarterly has come in the past two years with the help of some strong partnerships. A group of city homeless people met in 2011 with a few local professors at Bmore Housing for All, an advocacy group. Those professors -from Loyola and Towson universities- donated help with page design and the printing costs. The first edition went to the presses in March of 2012. They distribute 5,000 copies every edition.
On a recent day, the reporters and editors of “Word on the Street” gathered on the steps of Healthcare for the Homeless on, waiting for rides to a layout meeting at Towson University when they get word of a nearby eviction. A few reporters run off to warn their friends at a nearby encampment that they city is planning to evict the 20 to 30 people who live there. The rest of the group caravans to the graphic design class at Towson and settles in. One of the paper’s contributors, Tony Simmons, says the problem with encampment evictions is an ongoing battle.
Tony Simmons: They’re shutting down encampments all over the city. They claim it’s an eye sore, they’re saying safety issues. And the two sides have been clashing for years. And it’s finally coming to a point where the city wants them out. The state wants them out. They have nowhere to go.
Madden: That’s the kind of story that will make the pages of Word On The Street. Other stories include: “Four Proposed Bills” – a story about legislation `that could help the homeless, a feature about a homeless couple, and various articles about affordable housing. The reporters and the Towson students try to fit this content with the paper’s design and they immediately start planning the next edition. Simmons is in charge of the paper “Resources” section. He tells the students how he wants the page to look.
Simmons: First call for help hotline number. The idea of this section is when you’re just looking for a shelter for the night, you can just go straight down the list. If I need healthcare for tomorrow - I can find it, I can find it.
Madden: 'Imagine you’re homeless,' he tells them. I’m Mary Rose Madden reporting in Baltimore and Towson, for 88-1, WYPR.
IN FOCUS TODAY
Friday, May 24, 2013 - 6:35am
Friday, May 24, 2013 - 5:02am
This weekend's Memorial Day festivities are sure to include renditions of the Star Spangled...
Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 4:50am
The taxpayers of Baltimore are about to front a developer $107 million in something called tax...