1Works – Street Papers

Smiling Toledo Streets Vendor

Vendor Michael smiling with his stack of Toledo Streets – selling the paper is a confidence-booster!

Make Change, Don’t Give Change!

Achieving domestic autonomy is about reaching stability, and it’s hard for that to happen without financial autonomy. It’s not enough to look at someone who’s struggling and tell them to “Get a job!” There are quite a number of issues and obstacles at play, but we won’t outline them here. Let’s suffice it to say that many of the people we encounter in pursuing our mission are very willing to work hard at lifting themselves up by their bootstraps… if only they had boots.

Enter our 1Works family of programs. Because we believe that change that really matters to people is the change they make for themselves, we give people the “boots” to help them toward financial autonomy.
1Matters has funded the start of three street papers: Toledo Streets, Groundcover News in Ann Arbor, and Thrive Detroit. Each paper belongs to international associations and networks of street papers, all of them with the mission to give those who have low or no income the chance to sell papers for cash profit to themselves, eliminating panhandling and its demeaning mindset and replacing it with self-driven micro-enterprise and job skill development.
The premise of the papers is simple:
  • Vendors start out with 10 free papers when they sign up. This gets cash in their pocket, which they can use to invest in more papers at 25c each.
  • Established vendors develop their own selling areas and clientele, forming relationships with the people to whom they sell.
  • Vendors drive their own success; the more a vendor treats selling the paper as a regular job (consistent hours and location), the better they do.
  • Many papers offer sales incentives and rewards. Papers like Toledo Streets also give motivated vendors further opportunities such as selling advertising to increase skill development and income prospects.
  • Other papers, such as Groundcover News, include in its vendor services programs like Individual Development Accounts (also seed-funded by 1Matters), where vendors are rewarded for saving money towards a goal.
  • Beyond the income and skill set growth, selling the paper allows vendors to have something current for their resume, which helps increase their chances of landing a more traditional job.
Street papers are one example of the idea behind the 1Works philosophy. 1Matters is continuing to explore and establish similar ideas that promote jobs which are not the ends unto themselves, but only the beginnings.