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Organization Information

Street Sense


SSM creates pathways to employment for men and women experiencing homelessness through media that elevates voices. Our work sparks debate on poverty and inequality while providing skill training and immediate job opportunities for the people we serve.

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Success Story

Street Sense is a Washington, D.C. based street paper; a newspaper about poverty, homelessness and other social issues that provides an income to the homeless individuals who sell it. Tommy Bennett was one of those individuals.

Tommy is a former member of the U.S. Navy and a veteran of the Vietnam War. When he returned to the United States he was haunted by memories of the war and soon he was enveloped by depression. Alcohol and drugs became his refuge from the pain. "I gave up. I gave up on life. I gave up on everything...," he later recalled. He soon found himself without a home and living in shelters.

Finally, Tommy decided to reclaim his life. In 2003 he was encouraged to attend a Street Sense seminar. "When I sold my first paper," Tommy recalls, "I said 'Oh man, this thing does work!" Not long after being introduced to Street Sense he turned to a treatment center to get the help he needed to conquer his addictions. That was seven years ago. Today, Tommy is living in his own apartment and is pursuing a career as a drug counselor. He is currently attending school to receive his GED and working as a junior drug counselor at his former clinic, helping Virginia veterans like himself. He still sells Street Sense, and he is sober going on seven years.

By contributing to Street Sense you are helping the hundreds of vendors like Tommy who are on their own roads to success.