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Denver VOICE gives opportunities to those experiencing homelessness

The "Denver VOICE" is a newspaper that's been around since the 1990s. Because of COVID-19, it's facing some of its biggest challenges yet.

DENVER — Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Denver has seen a rise in people experiencing homelessness. Many are struggling to survive and stay healthy. 

What's the answer? Where should they go? How do we help? Homelessness is a complicated and controversial issue, and you can read all about it in the Denver VOICE

The Denver VOICE, a monthly paper, covers all kinds of news. They cover stories about the roots of homelessness, the camps, the city's response, equity, Black Lives Matters protests and many other current issues that cross the lines of poverty. 

You can read commentaries written by people living on the streets. It also includes a extensive resource guide to help people who need some food, get sick, or are looking for a helping hand. 

But what makes the paper really unique are the people who sell it, the vendors. Many are or have been homeless. They normally buy the papers for 50 cents each and sell them for a suggested donation of 3$. They get to keep the profit to help them survive. 

Since fewer buyers are out because of the pandemic, vendors can now buy papers for 25 cents. 

Brian Augustine has been selling the VOICE since he became homeless when he hurt his back 10 years ago. He said he can make about $1,200 a month, and it pays for housing. He's also written commentaries, and credits the VOICE for bringing him out of his shell. 

"It made me part of the community I work in instead of just being, as I put it in one piece I wrote, 'a weed on the street,'" Augustine said. 

Other vendors are still living on the streets. 

"It builds them up and gives them a voice that creates tremendous change in the lives of individuals and our community," Denver VOICE Executive Director Jennifer Seybold said. 

The "Denver VOICE " mostly operates using grants and donations. And like most non-profits, funds are a lot more difficult to find these days. 

Even so, the paper is still putting out quality news, information and providing a dialogue between vendors and the public about tough topics.

And maybe more importantly, it's giving people who live in tents a way out, if they want to sell papers. It's giving them a voice.    

For more information visit: https://www.denvervoice.org/

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