A group of delegates from small nonprofit newspapers met in Chicago during the summer of 1996 to discuss the idea of creating a street newspaper network. The North American Street Newspaper Association or NASNA was formed at that Chicago meeting and the first conference was held the following year in Seattle, Washington where members agreed on a mission, and goals for the organization were laid out.
The North American Street Newspaper now represents 31 street newspapers that work with more than 1,500 individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty and who gain immediate income through the sales of the newspaper every month. We are a growing grassroots media network that has a circulation of 300,000, and believe in creating real change. But it’s more than that.
Street newspapers play a vital role in stabilizing urban street corners through building self-confidence and self-worth among a population who lives without shelter. Alone, each street newspaper acts in a vacuum. Together, we make up a movement to change the way people relate and respond to homelessness and poverty locally, regionally and globally.
Relationships across class and cultural lines are built through the simple interaction of purchasing a newspaper. The general public begins to know the individual on the corner, not as a bum or a drug addict, but as Joe or Jane, and recognizes that individuals on the streets are no different than themselves. They love, laugh, cry, feel sadness, and have similar interests. The individual on the streets recognizes that being homeless doesn’t mean becoming a victim, but instead that they to belong to a community. Their hopes, dreams and opinions matter, just like all of us. Magic is born.
We encourage you to get to know us, from both a local and a North American perspective. Check out the, “Get to know our vendors” section where you’ll see first hand how street papers are changing lives.
Want to inquire about starting a street paper in your local community? We have that too. Want to know more about how NASNA helps its members, and if there’s a paper in your hometown? Please visit our members and services section.
See how street papers from around the globe are unified under one banner. View the Street News Service, where papers from around the globe are sharing content.
We also encourage you to give as little as $5 a month to our cause. In a time when the media industry is shifting, it’s grassroots local media that is keeping you informed. What better way to do that than through human connections and empowering individuals without a home to gain immediate income, and to better their lives.
NASNA believes that we need each other. It takes all of us to create positive and lasting change in our community. It takes all of us to maintain the village. Street newspapers do just that and with your support that change occurs 365 days a year, on street corners in 31 cities around North America. Together, we make the difference. Together, we’re creating change.