Street Sheet upped its price from $1 to $2 back in 2014, but the change helped power the paper to its 30th year of getting its word onto the street.
San Francisco is not the only city in the U.S. to have the equivalent of Street Sheet — but it was the first. Street Sheet started right here in 1989, giving the local homeless population an opportunity to tell their stories, or sell the papers and keep the proceeds. The idea has gone worldwide, in what is now the International Network of Street Papers sold in dozens of cities around the world. But this Coalition on Homelessness-published paper is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and the San Francisco Examiner has a great profile of the paper that helps hundreds of people survive on $2-per-copy, payable in cash or Venmo.
Yes, you can buy a Street Sheet with Venmo, which is about the most San Francisco thing I have ever heard.
Our little newspaper, @StreetSheetSF, is turning THIRTY!!— Coalition on Homelessness (@TheCoalitionSF) November 28, 2019
“lt allows me to be free outside in the fresh air. I get to walk around and clear my head. I have disabilities and PTSD. There are not a lot of jobs you can work as a person with disabilities.”https://t.co/cZlhMV39TZ
If you’ve never bought a copy of the Street Sheet, you really ought to check out the Street Sheet website and you will probably have a good Thanksgiving weekend cry. There’s a devastating series of articles called Stolen Belonging where people describe the most valuable or sentimental items taken from them while living on the street. There are firsthand accounts of what it’s like to be on the wrong end of an encampment sweep. These stories are as compelling as anything you’d read in any other daily or weekly paper, and easily worth the $2.
“Probably the biggest accomplishment that we’ve had so far is that we’ve been continuously able to publish for 30 years,” assistant editor T.J. Johnston told the Examiner. “That’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing that we’ve been able to survive and live by our mission. It’s a curse that the circumstances that necessitate a Street Sheet — it’s a curse that it’s still needed, that we still have homelessness.”
Johnston wrote an excellent 48 Hills retrospective on the paper for the anniversary. Meanwhile the Examiner profiles Lawrence Hollins, the top seller of Street Sheets, who’s been at it since the paper’s earliest days.
“If it wasn’t for the Street Sheet I don’t know where I’d be,” Hollins said. “It saved my life. I love them for it.”
Street Sheet will be having its 30th anniversary party on December 12 from 5:30-8 p.m. at their office on 280 Turk Street (at Leavenworth Street) with and open mic and light dinner served. Admission is free, but you ought to at least buy a Street Sheet.
Image: Robert B. Livingston via Wikimedia Commons