In her seven years heading One Step Away (OSA), Director Emily Taylor has grown the street newspaper to a lively social enterprise which provides an income for about 60 vulnerable Philadelphians.
A program of Resources for Human Development, OSA allows those who are either currently experiencing homelessness or have experienced homelessness in the past to become part-time entrepreneurs by buying the paper at a reduced rate and selling it to the public. Taylor is one of two full-time employees and is in charge of most of its operations.
To honor her dedication, Philly photographer Ted Goldman, whose work is frequently featured in the paper, just published a profile of Taylor for his “Amazing People Who Make A Difference” series.
“These are people who go above and beyond to do good for others,” Goldman writes in the series’ preface. “Some forgo more lucrative jobs to follow their passion for doing good. Some take personal risk to make a difference for others. Their stories deserve to be told.”
In the profile, Goldman interviews Taylor as well as vendors and others who speak to the power of her work.
How does Taylor feel about the attention?
“For me I believe the vendors are the real heroes, and I’ve seen them do amazing things. Many of our vendors work their way from the streets to housing,” she wrote in a text message. “Heck even coming in after ‘sleeping’ outside to get papers, to then go back on the street to sell them, is amazing.”
OSA fills a gap in opportunities for people experiencing homelessness, Taylor said, by training vendors job skills as well as helping them build up their self-esteem and enabling to earn an income. It’s just one program in a vast system, though.
“As Ted’s story tells, I am just one of the people working in homelessness, nonprofits, and social enterprises, but there are so many more,” she said. “We all need to come together as a community to solve our society problems. I think social enterprises are one of the best ways to do that, and I want to continue to work to bring various social enterprises to the city of Philadelphia, so that we can offer more opportunities to all people.”
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Goldman plans to publish more Philly-focused entries of his “Amazing People” series later this year.-30-
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