Street Pulse breathes life into homeless community

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Street Pulse breathes life into homeless community

Street Pulse vendor, Dominic sells papers at his usual spot on State Street

Street Pulse vendor, Dominic sells papers at his usual spot on State Street

Kathrine Gailloreto

Street Pulse vendor, Dominic sells papers at his usual spot on State Street

Kathrine Gailloreto

Kathrine Gailloreto

Street Pulse vendor, Dominic sells papers at his usual spot on State Street

Krystal Pence, Contributor

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More than 3,500 people in the Madison community experience homelessness each year. Many in this often marginalized population, not only lack the resources they need to get back on their feet, they are missing out on an opportunity to have their voices be heard. 

But since 2005, local publication, the Street Pulse, has been working to change that narrative and give a platform back to the local homeless community. 

On July 24, 2005 the Madison-Area Urban Ministry (MUM), received a letter that would prove to be a catalyst in the formation of Madison’s “Street Publication.” Excerpts from that letter, as seen in the September 2018 issues of the Street Pulse, are shown here:

“Enter a service that provides job skills, steady employment, a voice, and motivation for Madison’s homeless population: The Homeless Cooperative, a ‘street newspaper’ inspired by publications like Chicago’s Streetwise Newspaper and crafted by members of all sorts.”

Street Pulse was created as a publication that not only engages the public on the important insights surrounding homelessness, they offer unique chances to the homeless and low-income earning community in the process.

“We provide opportunities to learn, grow personally and professionally, build strong relationships in our community, help break down barriers to homelessness, and for vendors to earn an income,” said volunteer editor-in-chief, Karen Andro. “Many opportunities are intangible and are invaluable.”

Andro currently wears many hats within Street Pulse, serving as the Board President, Editor-in-Chief and Vendor Coordinator.  She became acquainted with the Street Pulse in 2010 after starting at a job within a downtown Madison church. This led to her reading the publication and, eventually, she was asked to write for it. Andro, herself, was no stranger to the experiences many of the homeless community.

“I experienced homelessness in my youth which I kept a secret for most of my life up until recently when I felt compelled to share my voice,” said Andro. “I feel that sharing voice and encouraging voice is vital in advocating and healing. It is at the heart of our street newspaper.”

For nearly 15 years, homeless and low-income individuals have had the opportunity to serve as vendors. Vendors have the option to purchase Street Pulse papers for a quarter and sell them for a dollar or more. The profits are theirs to keep. The paper itself is funded primarily through vendor sales, as well through advertising and grant funding.

The issues are published monthly and distributed at various locations, including State Street, Willy Street Co-Op Grocery Store locations and on various streets and hot spots throughout Madison. 

As Madison’s only cooperative ‘Street Newspaper’, Street Pulse sports contributions from volunteers such as fellow homeless, students, artists and passionate writers. These stories give an important glimpse into the world of homelessness that is not often exposed.

“Anyone with the desire to give of their time and talent (can contribute),” said Andro. “We welcome vendors, writers, leaders and community partners, and I encourage people to reach out and help us continue to improve Madison’s only street newspaper.”

Andro invites anyone interested in learning more about helping Street Pulse to reach out to her at [email protected] or 608-661-5301. Also, visit Street Pulse on Facebook.

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