Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project Programs
Real Change News
A weekly newspaper with 17,500 paid weekly circulation. Our community-based approach to journalism is complimented by our relationship-based vendor distribution, which encourages homeless and very low-income people to succeed as entrepreneurs growing a network of regular customers. Selling the paper is running your own small business. Vendors learn sales techniques, customer relations, time management, and build independence. Perhaps most importantly, they gain confidence, and build relationships that support them through hard times. Our vendors often have no other work opportunities and by selling the paper gain both immediate opportunity and skills for future success.
Real Change Homeless Speaker's Bureau
Through this program, homeless and formerly homeless men and women earn money speaking to community groups, workplaces, schools, faith communities and other community groups about homelessness. Groups learn about the challenges and realities of being homeless from a personal, rather than academic, lens.
Real Change Organizing Project
The Real Change Organizing Project is a program of Real Change working to empower and take action on issues of housing affordability, growing inequality, and human and civil rights. While the group will pursue a variety of short-term strategies to pursue immediate organizing opportunities, we work together toward a long-range vision to guide our work. The Organizing Project is committed to using a secular consensus process that builds leadership and fosters full ownership of group decision-making. We value the many perspectives held within our group, and are building a space where mutual respect, creative thinking, and fearless organizing can lead to authentic personal and social transformation. Group members are committed to good faith participation in our decision-making process, and to supporting each other as activists committed to common goal
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Real Change is the proud winner of the 2010 Seattle Human Rights Award for our leadership role in defeating a proposed aggressive panhandling ordinance that would have significantly widened the arbitrary power of Seattle police to trespass the poor from commercial areas. Real Change worked with a broad range of allies that included human service providers, the ACLU and the NAACP to produce the City Council support that upheld Mayor McGinn’s veto of the legislation. The law was unanimously opposed by the Seattle Human Rights Commission because it would undermine due process under law for target populations and increase incarceration rates for low-income people and minorities.
In 2010, we relocated from Belltown to Pioneer Square to a space that allows us to better serve our vendors.
Real Change’s commitment to quality journalism was once again rewarded with an armful of awards by the Society of Professional Journalists. Real Change staff collected 4 total prizes, including 3 first place honors for staff reporter Cydney Gillis alone. Cydney earned first-place awards in three categories: in Arts Reporting and Criticism for “Pike Place Market artists losing designated lofts” (April 8-14, ‘09); in Social Issues Reporting for “Affordable Rentals takes $250 from homeless couple” (Aug. 5-11, ‘09); and in Education Reporting for “Parents call changes at Seattle’s Indian Heritage School a whitewash,” (Sept. 30 – Oct. 4, ‘09). Assistant Editor Rosette Royale earned a second-place award in the Personalities Reporting category for “A fast for peace, recounted in number and deed” (Sept. 16-22, ‘09).
In 2009, Real Change reporter Rosette Royale won national recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists for his three-part "The Man who Stood on the Bridge" series on suicide and system failure.