To empower the entrepreneurial spirit through the dignity of self-employment by providing Chicagoans facing homelessness with a combination of supportive social services, workforce development resources and immediate access to gainful employment.
StreetWise magazine is among the largest “street papers” in the United States and serves as a model for street papers across North America.
Its staff have received numerous national, state, and local awards for the quality of StreetWise offerings, its service to the homeless population of Chicago, and its importance to the community in general. Reporters and contributors include professional journalists, journalism students, and StreetWise vendors, as well as clients from other Chicago area social service organizations.
StreetWise provides a flexible employment opportunity via the sales of StreetWise magazine. The magazine itself covers topics that can be defined as “socially conscious and Chicago-centric,” reporting on areas of homelessness, poverty and social reform as well as Chicago art, culture and more. For the fiscal year 2012, StreetWise incurred $615,778 in expenses with $308,019 of those costs covered through magazine-generated income.
StreetWise magazine assists the agency in providing much needed social service support to participants. All costs associated with magazine productions and sales, (including designated salaries) are fully covered by magazine-generated income. In fact, 50% of the StreetWise budget is covered by magazine revenue.
After ending 2011 with only 144 magazine vendors, StreetWise increased the number dedicated magazine vendors to 187 at the close of 2012. The magazine also sold almost 15,000 more magazines in 2012 ending the year with just under 338,000 in total magazines sold.
In 2012, magazine sales produced a $50,000 surplus, which will be used to underwrite the agency’s social services for FY 2013.
Through StreetWise magazine, vendors have the opportunity to participate in and learn more about Entrepreneurial Employment and Fiscal Responsibility.