For this episode, I took a good look at something many of us find ourselves pointedly avoiding: Spare Change News, a newspaper sold – and written – by Boston’s homeless.
Of course, Spare Change News doesn’t just help the homeless; the vendors may have a place to live (and even a job). The paper is there to give anyone who needs it a way to make money.
My guest is James Shearer, President of the Homeless Empowerment Project and one of the founders of Spare Change News. He and a number of others started the paper 15 years ago while living on the streets, then turned what sounded like a crazy idea into a paper which now publishes thousands of copies every month.
I’d always been intrigued by the paper and wanted to learn more, so I visited the paper’s office in the basement of the Old Cambridge Baptist Church in Harvard Square for a conversation with Mr. Shearer.