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New Newspaper On Sale To Help The Homeless

Exchange sale.jpg
New Orleans Street Exchange

A new newspaper is being sold on the streets of New Orleans. It highlights the challenges of being homeless, and helps those trying to work their way into homes of their own.

Nolan and Mark are now living in the New Orleans Mission, but they’re hoping they could start the process of moving to a place of their own by selling copies of “The Exchange.” They headed out with some of the first editions this week and made a sale.

Nolan’s a lifelong New Orleans resident who just recently became homeless.

“I’m trying to get my life back together and selling these newspapers will probably help me do it. I hope so.”  

He and Mark and other vendors are selling The Exchange for $1. Program co-founder Betsy Charron explains the business model, which is being used around the world.

“We give them 10 free copies to kick-start their sales. And then they come in and each paper they buy after that is 25 cents upfront — and then they go out, they redistribute it for a dollar and keep the profit.”  

Homeless advocate Jessie Pullins is helping the program get started. He shares his story of how he overcame homelessness in a feature inside the first issue.

“What I see it doing is helping the homeless become entrepreneurs and educating them to give them the motivation and the self-esteem to where they can be productive citizens again," he said. "And they can get out here and get them jobs and get them a home and just get their lives back on track.”

Mark is helping Charron with getting the digital community involved in the paper’s progress.

“She’s letting me do a lot with the social media," he said. "I’m doing the Instagram. She’s on Twitter and we’re doing all that stuff — and that’s fun.”

The Exchange is a quarterly publication. Donations are now being accepted for the second edition in May.

Eileen is a news reporter and producer for WWNO. She researches, reports and produces the local daily news items. Eileen relocated to New Orleans in 2008 after working as a writer and producer with the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. for seven years.