Street Spirit is a publication of Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA)  that reports extensively on homelessness, poverty, economic inequality, welfare issues, human rights issues and the struggle for social justice. For over two decades, Street Spirit has been dedicated to empowering poor and homeless people and giving a voice to the voiceless, at a time when the voices of the poor are virtually locked out of the mainstream media. From 1995-2016 Street Spirit was a publication of the American Friends Service Committee.

Street Spirit provides more than 100 homeless vendors a positive alternative to panhandling, and to give our readers a progressive alternative to the corporate-controlled mainstream media. Help us remain an independent voice for justice! Please donate or subscribe to Street Spirit.

Street Spirit features investigative reporting about the alarming, nationwide wave of civil rights abuses and police repression targeted at homeless people. Our articles document the struggle for dignity and human rights by low-income psychiatric inmates, street youth, homeless women, welfare recipients, and poor seniors facing eviction. Street Spirit reports with a truly populist perspective from the shelters, back alleys, soup kitchen lines and slum hotels where mainstream reporters rarely or never visit – speaking truth to power and breaking the corporate media’s “vow of silence” about the growing disgrace of ever-widening poverty in the richest nation on earth.

Street Spirit’s reporting was responsible for alerting the public to widespread violations of low-income psychiatric patients at East Bay Hospital in Richmond, a hospital used as a dumping ground for homeless, poor and severely disabled people by nine Bay Area counties. As a testament to the power of the press, our reporting was instrumental in shutting down that notoriously abusive facility, the largest psychiatric hospital (until its closure) in Contra Costa County.

Street Spirit provides homeless people with a voice which cannot be found in the mainstream media. In our news coverage, commentary, art, and poetry, we focus on the crucial areas of concern which affect the daily lives and survival of the homeless poor. Just as importantly, the newspaper is distributed on the streets by homeless vendors, enabling them to earn a living to make it through these hard economic times.

All works copyrighted by the authors.
The views expressed in Street Spirit articles are those of the individual authors, not necessarily those of the YSA.

Street Spirit welcomes submissions of articles, artwork, poems and photos.

Contact: Terry Messman
Street Spirit, YSA
1740 Alcatraz Avenue, near Adeline
Berkeley, CA 94703
tmessman@afsc.org
or
streetspiritnews@gmail.com

Homeless Spike in Rural California Linked to Silicon Valley Sprawl

Housing costs are soaring and homelessness is rising in Central Valley communities due to Silicon Valley sprawl and the influx of Bay Area commuters

Hate Man Chose Life on the Streets Until the Very End

The Hate Man, Mark Hawthorne, had been a New York Times reporter before dropping out. Hawthorne’s sister visited him two or three times a year and admired his every move. “We like to say he lived the way he wanted to live,” she said, “and that’s a rare thing.”

Unhoused People Silenced by Oregon Legislature

The ACLU of Oregon documented 224 laws in the state that criminalize or punish homeless people for life-sustaining activities.

Houseless Activists in Santa Cruz Issue Call to Conscience

“While the federal government continues to eradicate the social safety net, the cost of housing in Santa Cruz continues to rise, creating an unstable situation locally, and leaving many of our poorest residents without homes. Local action to reduce the cost of housing and provide homes for all is long overdue.”

Art Saved My Life

A sun worth of passion sparked in me my new life. It had meaning with the loss of my mom. I gained a new self. I started drawing a year later. I wanted to escape from my grief in high school. I was taught how to paint — colors became my best friend.

Youth Design a Tiny House Village in Berkeley

“I’m so thrilled about the opportunity our church will have to build a tiny house. It’s such a do-able project for a local church; a deeply satisfying way to put some sweat equity behind our longing for economic justice; a poignant means of demonstrating our care for the most vulnerable neighbors.”