Street Roots turned 12 this week — find out what’s shaking…

SR turned 12 this week. With the constant support of readers and supporters of individuals like you we have been able to achieve some amazing things.

When SR first started it was with a handful of volunteers and a small group of homeless folks who wanted to give individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty an immediate and dignified income opportunity. We also wanted to create a sense of community among Portlanders that would help change the way the general public viewed and interfaced with people on the streets.

For the first five years the organization survived solely on the countless dedication of volunteerism and people on the streets.  That dedication continues on today.

While the organization now has a whopping three staff members, it’s the many volunteers and vendors themselves that make up the backbone of our organization. In 12 years, SR has not been closed – not one day – for people on the streets. Seven days a week for 12 years.

During that time we have never missed a publication, producing 244 editions of the newspaper. We’ve also helped launch Dignity Village, lobbied the city and region for numerous changes in policy that has created real change in our community, published well over a quarter of a million resource guides, and helped hundreds of individuals to maintain or gain housing. That’s not to mention the thousands of relationships that have been built on streets corners and in front of businesses throughout the city. All of this has been done on a very humble budget and with a handful of angles looking over our shoulders.

Together we have watched and highlighted scores of beautiful and amazing stories — dreams have come true. We’ve also have collectively dealt with the many tragedies that come with living and working on the streets. In the end, we are touched in ways that that are hard to describe — be it the individuals or families that have found success, or the ghosts that constantly remind us of the importance of the work we do.

This year specifically has been a breakthrough year for SR. We opened a field office with our partners at JOIN on NE 81st Avenue, worked with community partners to launch a much needed program that will help track individuals who pass on the streets, brought home many awards, including three first place prizes from the Society of Professional Journalists, published 60,000 Rose City Resource Guides, and published well over 300 original works of writing and art from people on the streets.

Most importantly, we continue to help individuals find stability in their lives, and income to survive and improve their quality of life. More than 400 unique individuals sold SR this year from different cultures, backgrounds and circumstances.

In 2011, SR will continue the work outlined above and work to bring the community some new and exciting projects.

SR will be launching a brand new website that will help centralize our program work. It’s our goal to present a website that will serve as a hub for an online community and be interactive in a way that people will feel more connected to the streets, are better informed and have a way to engage in creating real change.

We will continue to publish the newspaper and partner with community groups, highlighting the many voices of social justice and helping tell the raw facts and stories of people experiencing poverty and the policies that effect us all.

SR will work to build new and emerging partnerships and work to change specific policies that will help our region prioritize housing for all.

In honor of our past, and in support of our future, all of us at Street Roots ask that you make a donation through the Willamette Week Give!Guide to help support the organization.

We can guarantee you that your donation will go directly to creating real change, 365 days a year, in both the lives of the people on the streets and for community members like you.

Thank you for the consideration.

Sincerely from the Street Roots crew!

P.S. For those of you that have already given — thank you. In the first three weeks of the Give!Guide — supporters like you have kept an underdog like SR in the Top 10 of the 79 great non-profits highlighted — both in the amount raised and individuals 36 and under that have given. Thank you!

And for the many donations received directly to Street Roots this month — thank you for believing in us!

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