Thursday, September 9, 2010

SpareChangeNews Interview Pending!

Just recieved an invite from Heather who is THE HOME's PR Manager ( ) to be interviewed by SpareChangeNewspaper ( ) she informed me "it is starting a bio column on interesting people and would like to feature someone who has overcome challenges because The Home has helped them". I eagerly agreed and am awaiting to be contacted by Adam Sennett! I will post the link when it runs!

Spare Change News (SCN) is a street newspaper published in Cambridge, Massachusetts through the efforts of the Homeless Empowerment Project (HEP), a grassroots organization created to help end homelessness.

The newspaper offices are headquartered in the Old Cambridge Baptist Church. 1151 Massachusetts Ave · Cambridge * (617) 497-1595 *

The mission of Spare Change News is "to present, by our own example, that homeless and economically disadvantaged people, with the proper resources, empowerment, opportunity, and encouragement are capable of creating change for ourselves in society." [1]

The mission of the Homeless Empowerment Project (HEP) is "to empower the economically disadvantaged in Greater Boston through self-employment, skill development, and self-expression. To create forums, including those of independent media in order to reshape public perception of poverty and homelessness." [1]

Early history

The paper was started in Boston in 1992 by a small group of thirteen homeless people [2] and one housed advocate, Timothy Harris, who was a member and Executive Director of Boston Jobs with Peace.[3] In 1994, Harris would go on to use the model of Spare Change News and the Homeless Empowerment Project to found Real Change, a street newspaper in Seattle.

The newspaper's first managing editor, Tim Hobson, said at its founding in 1992 that it would be "heavy on entertainment and politics as well as discussion of homeless empowerment". He also said an important goal was to "put a face on the homeless to show that we're human beings".[1][4][5]


The Mission of the Homeless Empowerment Project (HEP)

To empower the economically disadvantaged in Greater Boston through self-employment, skill development, and self-expression. To create forums, including those of independent media in order to reshape public perception of poverty and homelessness.

What We Do

Spare Change provides a locus of stability and community, and serves as a nexus of life transition for its primary customers - the newspaper vendors. Meanwhile, the publication is devoted to producing quality editorial content, which includes journalistic, fiction, creative and opinion writing, illustration, and cartooning. This commitment is meant to serve Spare Change's secondary customers, i.e., the readers themselves. Our content is almost always 100% locally produced, with much of it written, drawn and photographed by currently or formerly homeless, or otherwise low-income individuals. Finally, the newspaper serves as a resource for people in need of services such as food, shelter, clothing, employment, healthcare and legal aid, as can be found in the "Situations Wanted" and "Helping Hands" sections of the print edition.2,3

The headquarters of Spare Change News and the Homeless Empowerment Project are located in the Old Cambridge Baptist Church at 1151 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138.

Organizational Structure

The Homeless Empowerment Project is a grass-roots organization comprised primarily of people who have either been homeless, have worked with the homeless or who wish to become active in our effort to impact the tragedy of homelessness and poverty. Our agenda of empowerment through economic and skill development opportunities is carried out in many ways, including through staff, committee and Board of Director membership opportunities.

Board, Committees and Panels

The Board of Trustees of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which meets monthly, is made up of volunteer members from many walks of life, including a minimum of three seats reserved for Spare Change News vendors. In addition, HEP has several standing committees, and ad hoc committees that guide the day-to-day functioning of the organization. HEP opens its doors to all who wish to participate in committee meetings, including the general public.

Further reading

"James L. Shearer was eating lunch with friends at a McDonald's one spring day last year when he heard about the idea: a monthly newspaper run by and about homeless people in the Boston area. Shearer, 34, was homeless at the time and 'a little skeptical' of the idea at first. 'The history of homeless-run projects in Boston wasn't good,' he said. 'But it wasn't just about putting money in our pockets. We were actually going to take part in solving the problem. That was different.' Yesterday, more than a year later, Shearer appeared before the City Council to accept a special commendation on behalf of Spare Change as the newspaper celebrates its one-year ..."

  • Saginaw, Michael A., "IAP Activity Gives Students Chance to Help Homeless", The Tech, Massachusetts Institute of Technology newspaper, January 29, 1993. p.15. Byron H. Paladin, a founder of Spare Change News speaks about homelessness to MIT students.
  • Simpson, April, "Voice of Homeless Struggles to Stay Afloat: Lagging Sales Hit Nonprofit Paper", The Boston Globe, July 3, 2005.


Spare Change Guy on YouTube


If you would like to get involved as a volunteer, visit the volunteer link:, or email volunteer

If you would like to sign up to be a vendor, visit the headquarters at the Old Cambridge Baptist Church (1151 Mass Ave. Cambridge, Harvard Square) for an orientation on Wednesdays at 11am.

1If you would like to book a speaking engagement with the Homeless Speakers' Bureau, contact our office at (617) 497-1595, or email

2If you are homeless or living in a shelter and in need of an apartment (e.g., just got your housing voucher), or if you would like to advertise for employment or donations (e.g., furniture), you may place a free classified ad in our Situations Wanted page. Contact for details.

3If you are a service provider that caters to homeless or low-income populations and would like to list your organization in the Helping Hands section of Spare Change News, please contact for details.

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