(Photo by TGoldmanPhotography)
On Monday, a new magazine hit the streets of Philadelphia.
One Step Away (OSA), the street paper aimed at raising awareness of homelessness and providing employment to those in need, debuted its December issue in the new format. The month also marks the nonprofit social enterprise’s ninth year of existence.
For now, contents — which include feature-length articles written by OSA staff or partner news organizations (including, full disclosure, Generocity) and vendor-penned stories and poems — will remain largely untouched, though more sections will be added in future editions.
Director Emily Taylor said the main reason for the change is that OSA can now charge more per product: $5, versus $1 for a newspaper. Previously, the yellow vest-wearing vendors would buy each copy of the newspaper for 25 cents and keep the 75-cent difference. Now, they buy each magazine for $1.50 and keep the $3.50 difference. Simply put, they can sell fewer products for more money.
There are more changes to come for the organization.
Longtime vendor Eric Hazelwood was recently hired as OSA’s first-ever vendor representative, a part-time role where he’ll manage the vendor site and train new vendors. His hiring also allows OSA to expand vendor site hours from three days a week to four. (About 60 people sell the paper at a time, and trainings happen weekly in the basement of the United Methodist Church at Broad and Arch streets.)
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Taylor wrote in an email that her goal is to create four vendor rep positions total; the others would deal with volunteer, advocacy and writing.
“The Vendor Representative roles create upward mobility for our vendors, by creating paid hourly positions,” she said. “Our hope is to be able to raise enough funds to fill all of these roles, while connecting to local businesses and community groups for more stable employment opportunities for our vendors.”
That “raise enough funds” bit is crucial. OSA is a program of Resources for Human Development and “is completely supported by members of our community” via individual giving, ads, corporate sponsorships and the like, Taylor said.
Look out for OSA’s new magazine on street corners in Center City most weekdays.-30-
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