About Us

StreetWise provides Chicagoans in need with “a hand up, not a handout.”

To this end, StreetWise will assure that, by giving any person who is willing to work a stable foundation from which they can move themselves out of crisis, no one will find it necessary to beg in order to survive.

How it all began...

It’s hard to believe that 26 years ago on August 24th, 1992, the first edition of StreetWise hit the streets of Chicago. Our founder, Judd Lofchie, found a practical solution to the crisis of homelessness in Chicago. The idea was simple: give homeless men and women a chance to gain economic self-sufficiency, personal dignity, and help themselves by selling a newspaper to earn an income rather than beg. More than 350 homeless men and women purchased and sold more than 60,000 issues of StreetWise within the first 5 weeks! 

Magazine Vendors

Selling StreetWise is a job. Our vendors are self-employed entrepreneurs. 

Our success is due to the commitment, dedication, and persistence of our StreetWise magazine vendors. They go out each day to greet you – their loyal customers. It is because of your support that our vendors can pay rent, utilities, purchase food and clothing, and even save some money.  

Meet the Vendors

StreetWise Magazine

StreetWise magazine is an award winning publication that is socially conscious and Chicago-centric. It raises awareness on the impact of poverty and homelessness in Chicago, across the nation, and around the world. StreetWise is among the largest “street papers” in the United States and serves as a model for street papers across North America. The editorial staff work hard to provide intriguing articles about today’s important issues as well as entertaining articles to enhance the reader’s daily life. By engaging the unemployed and underemployed as vendors, StreetWise is able to personalize the face of Chicago’s poor while, at the same time, providing them with a viable income opportunity.

S.T.E.P. to Employment 

The S.T.E.P. is our employment preparation and placement program aimed at assisting at-risk job seekers in finding and maintaining sustainable employment. We help individuals eliminate barriers and overcome obstacles to employment and self-sufficiency.  

Support Services

Meeting basic needs by distributing emergency clothing, hygiene kits, and providing hot meals.  Staff are on hand to assist with accessing community resources and benefits, referrals for housing, healthcare or legal assistance, and providing emergency support. 

StreetWise is Empowering People to Work!