You all have been hearing that we are being taken off the streets and can’t sell our newspaper any longer. The cities said that they care about the vendors and not getting in accidents. They claim it is all about safety but when you look at the safety report they used to make these laws selling a newspaper on the side of the street is the least dangerous behavior compared to all the other types of accidents. In fact riding a bike in the middle of the community is much more dangerous than selling a newspaper. However the city did not make any laws to protect biker riders, they did not say a bike can’t be driven on the side of street. Crossing the street at a cross walk is more dangerous than selling a newspaper but they have not made crosswalks like bridges over certain corners like they have done in the past because it is way too expensive to do that but yet those bridges save lives. When you compare selling a newspaper to high school sports you will see that many more kids are hurt or killed than us selling a newspaper. I’m not saying I would want them to make sports illegal. In our 17 year history we have never lost a newspaper vendor do to an accident. Is it dangerous, yes it can be like any other occupation. They claim it is about safety but when you get copies of the city commission emails that are public record you can see it is not about safety it is about not wanting a homeless person coming up to their cars. It’s about a person not wanting to be bothered by a homeless person. Some even say it is not the standards of our community. If they were so concerned about the homeless why do the cites outlaw homeless shelters, feeding the homeless, or arrest them when they are sleeping on a bus bench? Why would a city arrest a person feeding the homeless?
These same cities that outlaw us from selling a paper did care about the homeless in a way … How did they care? They have their homeless taken to our homeless shelter and expect us to figure out how we can pay for all of this. That is correct, these same cities that outlaw us from selling a newspaper still take their homeless to our shelter. We have been still taking the homeless from these cities because it is not the homeless persons fault. We are putting it back to the cities and telling them if they want us to continue to take the homeless they need to help us. That is not going so good. I have to tell you that any city that takes away our funding but still sends their homeless to us is a pretty sad thing. The cities claim that we still have some streets and they did not outlaw every street. That is correct but the majority of the streets we can do are very slow and in most cases the median can’t be walked on because it is slanted. On some of the corners there is no rest room for a mile or two. The other corners have no median where you can’t even stand because that violates another law.
We filed a federal law suit and the judge said there are other places we can vend our paper. So we lost the case. So we are hitting those spots such as a county park, city halls, or the airports. Those have been pretty good but we are still way behind in our budgets. The sad part of this is almost every city is going to pass the same city code. When that happens we may have to close our overnight beds which are the most important beds we have. These are the beds that the city uses. These are the beds that clean their city streets of homeless people. We are going to try everything possible to save these beds. We have to…. If God wants us in business then we cannot break the bank.
We still have some cities. But this month we lost another two cities. For now we have half the cities we use to have. We are getting more check donations at this time which is allowing us to cover some of our budget and with the use of our emergency funds we are holding on but that all stops in a few months. Of course we are going to try to continue to distribute the Homeless Voice in any area we can. However it may become too expensive for us to distribute the paper if we have to drive all over the place because our corners are all over the place. Plus we have to keep a driver out there all day long for bathroom breaks. That means four new staff members and four more vans, insurance and gas. For the places like city hall we would never be able to get each vendor out in time because we have to go to one city hall and then the next then the next and we would never be able to do that unless we bought more vans. We will try using busses and that will work but the poor vendor has to add about four hours to their day. Then we would have to add more staff to audit and count the sales for the day because of the longer day.
Here is what we need to do. You all have supported us throughout the years. Yes we do thank you for also sending in those big checks because that allows us more time to convert from street side vending to monthly pledges. More people are sending in checks now than before. But we need more of you to help us in the mail instead of in the street. If everyone who bought our paper would just send in a check each and every month we would not only stay in business but we would become even bigger and better. I spend most of my day trying to figure out where to get all this money that is needed. The future can be spending time on serving the people we all love. You can still buy your paper when you see us in limited locations or we can even send you a paper in the mail or you can download a free paper online. If this plan works we will make the paper bigger and train some of the vendors to sell advertisement where we can bring in more money and they can keep their jobs. If everyone just sent in $1 a month we would be ok. If some sent in more we would become bigger and some of you may want to become a Monthly Angel where we would be the best there is. The time is critical … we need you now more now than ever. I can’t stress it any other way than how I am saying it…it is critical. How do you send in your monthly donations?
P.O. Box 292-577
Davie, Florida 33329
Or go to our web site and become a monthly partner at