Downtown Concierge

Inside 43215: Street Speech Makes a Change


inside 43215


Downtown Columbus

As you walk the streets of downtown, you have probably been asked to buy a small newspaper called Street Speech by street vendors affiliated with the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless. After complaints about some vendors and concerns raised about the program by Capital Crossroads SID, the Coalition has modified the vendor program, which had been in effect for five years.

The program enhancements were developed under the leadership of Stacy Herman, Program Director of Columbus Coalition for the Homeless.

"The Coalition is very excited about the redesign of the Vendor Program," Herman said. "We believe that by providing extensive professional development training and strengthening skills, while at the same time monitoring vendors in the field, they (and the community) will be set up for a more successful experience while better equipping vendors to participate in the workforce."

The changes to the Vendor Program address some key aspects, including professional and in-depth training for vendors on proper techniques of distributing Street Speech; a renewed emphasis on partnering with community establishments surrounding the distribution locations; an extensive program for systemic vendor supervision under the leadership of John Hughes, a Workforce Development Manager; and development of programs designed to build life skills for vendors.

The goal of Street Speech is to provide a voice for the most vulnerable of the community and to advocate for social and economic justice issues. The program is designed to foster self-sufficiency for people currently (or formerly) experiencing homelessness. They earn income through paper sales, and the program is not meant as a tool for panhandling.

The mission of Columbus Coalition for the Homeless is to empower homeless persons to achieve greater self-sufficiency; to advocate on behalf of homeless persons and organizations that serve them; and to work together to educate the Central Ohio community about the devastating effects of homelessness on individuals and families. To learn more or to become involved with the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless, or to report any concerns regarding a particular vendor, you can contact them at 614.228.1342 or at