About Real Change
Real Change exists to provide opportunity and a voice for low-income and homeless people while taking action for economic justice.
Real Change Values
* Courage: Telling the truth and taking risks
* Community: Fostering healthy relationships where people care about each other
* Creativity: Pushing beyond the obvious to promote change
* Compassion: Treating everyone with respect and accepting them as they are
* Integrity: Doing what we say and taking responsibility for our mistakes
A Real Difference
The transformational magic of Real Change resides in the vast caring community of readers who support our vendors by purchasing a total of 16,000-22,000 papers each week. Over the course of the thousands of vendor/reader transactions that occur every day, cherished relationships are built that both affirm the effort and self-worth of the vendor and erode the dehumanizing fears and misconceptions regarding homeless people that can limit understanding and empathy.
By meeting people where they are at, Real Change helps homeless and low-income people meet their immediate needs while we work for the structural change that offers longer term solutions to poverty. We do this through three integrated programs:
1) Vendor Services: We run a comprehensive Vendor Services program that provides employment for 300 homeless and low-income people every month. In 2012, Real Change served a total of 814 vendors. Real Change vendors are among the poorest of the poor. In a recent survey of our vendors (285 responses), 43% said that they are currently homeless and 49% reported that they have previously been homeless. Housed vendors most typically live in low-income housing and sell the paper to supplement very limited fixed income sources such as Social Security Disability Insurance. 70% report having at least one physical or mental disability, with nearly 27% reporting both a physical and a mental disability.
2) Real Change Newspaper: Real Change publishes the only “street newspaper” in Washington State and the only newspaper that consistently focuses on poverty, homelessness, and social justice. In 2012 Real Change had a paid circulation of over 872,562 copies. Vendors pay Real Change 60 cents for each Real Change Newspaper and resell the paper on the street for the two dollar cover price plus tips.
3) Advocacy: Real Change leverages the relationships that exist between vendors and readers to build a cross-class movement for economic justice and defend the civil rights of the very poor. In recent years, we have led successful campaigns to humanize Seattle urban campsite clearance policies, stop a proposed new jail from being built, and defeat aggressive panhandling legislation that was unanimously condemned by the Seattle Human Rights Commission. Additionally, Real Change engages our readership through a variety of mediums to take action on legislative priorities identified by our human service advocate allies.
Real Change is a hand-up—not a hand out—and extends dignity and self-determination into the lives of those who often have few other legitimate income-earning opportunities.
About Real Change
Real Change exists to provide opportunity and a voice for low-income and homeless people while taking action for economic justice.(Read more...)