I have a friend who lives on 17th Ave. near Watercourse. There is often a man standing on the corner of Emerson St. with a handful of newspapers trying to get the attention of passersby. My friend stopped to chat with him on our way out one evening and bought one of his papers for $1. He told me the man is homeless, but that selling copies of the VOICE – a non-profit, Denver street paper by and about the homeless – keeps him and his mother out of shelters, but with a roof over their head.

One evening, as I approached his corner I realized I didn’t have any cash on me. He asked if I wanted to buy a paper and I explained I didn’t have any “ones” on me. He smiled and replied, “That’s alright. I take $20’s” and handed me a paper despite my not being able to pay for it. I introduced myself and asked him what his name was, “I’m Erik, nice to meet you.” was his polite and humble reply. The next time I saw him, I gave him the $5 I had in my pocket.

Turns out the Denver VOICE has been around for over 10 years. It made a comeback in 2007 after a brief hiatus thanks to Denver businessman Rick Barnes, and a passionate, talented staff of journalists, artists and contributors. The “vendors” purchase the papers for $.25 and sell them for a suggested donation of $1. It’s a well-designed, well-written, thought provoking and meaningful publication, supporting a very noble cause.

“… addressing the roots of homelessness by telling stories of people whose lives are impacted by poverty and homelessness and to offer economic, educational and empowerment opportunities for the impoverished community.”

More info at http://www.denvervoice.org/

Other links on this topic:
NPR: Talk of the Nation |  One Woman’s Journey From Homeless To Harvard