Published twice a month by The Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, Street Vibes is a local newspaper that advocates for justice and reports on homelessness, civil rights, and poverty. It is distributed by individuals experiencing homelessness, providing them with a way to earn money. The newspaper often features poetry, articles, and artwork submitted by those in our local homeless community.
Street Vibes began as the coalition’s response to the city’s view on panhandling. Selling Street Vibes allows those in our homeless community a way to earn money as distributors—not panhandlers.
“We're at city hall a lot, trying to get public policy changed,” said Justin Jeffre, editor of Street Vibes.
The City of Cincinnati recently installed donation meters downtown, in a response to the city’s homelessness issue and to combat panhandling. While they look like parking meters, money collected goes to agencies that seek to help the homeless.
“We’re not really fans of [the meters],” Jeffre said. “We think it further entrenches the negative stereotypes [associated with panhandlers]. [Business developers] want panhandlers to disappear. They want poor people to not be around.”
Putting money in a meter might be great for those that want to give (but don’t carry cash), but it doesn’t replace eye contact, a kind word or simple smile or greeting.
Located at 112 East 12th St., the homeless coalition provides a training and information session for those interested in being a Street Vibes distributor. Once training is completed, distributors receive their first 10 copies free, which can be sold for $2 each. Money earned can be used to purchase more newspapers at a discounted rate.
During business hours, anyone can access the coalition to use the phone, or use its address to receive mail.
Cincinnati is a long way from solving its affordable housing issue. But the Homeless Coalition, Street Vibes and its 60-member organizations continue to reach out, speak up and seek justice for the homeless community and those vulnerable to losing their homes.
So the next time you see someone selling Street Vibes on the corner, stop and say hello — and if you have it, pull out $2 and buy a copy.