street sense editor

How to start and run a street paper

Two volunteers, Laura Thompson Osuri and Ted Hensen, approached the National Coalition of the Homeless with the interest of starting a street newspaper in Washington, D.C.

After some collaboration, Street Sense was published in November 2003.

Now the paper, which is located in an office at the Church of the Epiphany in downtown D.C., prints 16,000 issues every two weeks and employs more than 400 vendors.

local vendor

Editor Mary Otto(top left), along with the board of directors, runs the paper.

She said the most challenging part of the street newspaper business is the finances.

But to her, it’s all worth it.

She’s a mother figure and friend to the vendors who come by the office. She greets everyone with a smile and hug and is always enthusiastic to talk to.

“I love what I do,” she said. “I’m humbled by the vendors I am surrounded by. They are some of the strongest people I’ve ever met.”