The 28-year-old Oakland newspaper Street Spirit, which chronicles homelessness issues and is sold by unhoused vendors, will publish its last issue on June 1 because they’ve lost their nonprofit funding.
San Francisco residents are likely to be familiar with Street Sheet, the independent SF newspaper covering homelessness issues since 1989, and commonly sold by unhoused people. Oakland has its own version of that paper called Street Spirit, which was founded six years later. But it appears Oakland will not have Street Spirit much longer, as Berkeleyside reports Street Spirit will soon cease publication, and its last monthly issue will be released June 1.
It’s hard for me to express how deeply devastated I am by this news. After 28 years of uplifting the voices and stories of unhoused people in the East Bay, Street Spit will halt publication starting July 1. My hope is that this is temporary. Info below ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/UGTynNh6M3— Alastair Boone (@alastairboone) May 22, 2023
The news broke Monday on Twitter. “After 28 years of publication, Street Spirit will cease publication on June 30,” the paper’s editor Alastair Boone announced on Twitter. “We have received the sudden and devastating news that after years of significant growth in the scale of services they provide to unhoused youth, our publisher, Youth Spirit Artworks, no longer has the ability to support Street Spirit.”
SF’s Street Sheet will be stepping in so that vendors who rely on the paper for income will still have something to sell.
“Starting in July, Street Sheet (San Francisco's street newspaper) will print extra copies of their paper for our East Bay vendors to distribute,” Boone’s announcement continues. “Readers will be able to buy it from the 40+ Street Spirit vendors who you are used to seeing outside grocery stores, cafes, farmers markets, and other parts of Berkeley,Oakland, Fairfax, and beyond.”
The Berkeley nonprofit Youth Spirit Artworks had been providing the annual $150,000 budget for the paper, but is eliminating the funding. “The organization has struggled to generate funding for Street Spirit all these years,” the nonprofit’s director of operations Karini Pereira-Bowers told Berkeleyside.
But Street Spirit is on a last-minute full court press to find funding to keep the newspaper in circulation. They’re accepting donations online, though you do have to manually type in the words “Street Spirit” in the field labeled “If you have a special purpose for your donation, please let us know” for Street Spirit to receive the donation. They’ll also accept checks at the Western Regional Action Project, 2940 16th St., Suite 200-2, San Francisco, CA 94103, though again, you’ll have to write “Street Spirit” on the check’s memo line.
Image: @StSpiritNews via Twitter