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Cleveland Street Chronicle Launches Wrap Up Homelessness Campaign

Each copy of the Street Chronicle includes pages of art that can be used as wrapping paper. [Grace McConnell / 3-19 Coffee]
A copy of the Cleveland Street Chronicle on a table, surrounded by gifts wrapped in pages of art from the paper.

The Cleveland Street Chronicle, published by the  Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless(NEOCH), is launching a campaign to raise money for the community this holiday season. A special edition of the paper includes designs that can double as wrapping paper.

Each paper will feature four full-page designs from local artists, including ornaments, a winter landscape and Santa Claus in a face mask. Proceeds will support NEOCH and the vendors, including people experiencing homelessness in the local community and formerly homeless people. Vendors pay 25 cents for a newspaper, which retails for $2. Many people give more.

The Wrap Up Homelessness campaign was a success last year, said the Street Chronicle’s Angelo Anderson, a formerly homeless man who has been selling papers at the West Side Market for years. Artists reached out this year offering to contribute their talents.

“People want to help,” Anderson said. “People reach out and ask, ‘What can I do? How can I be a part of it?’ And once they get started, most of the time they come back and help with other things.”

Anderson started the first homeless newspaper in Cleveland, the Homeless Grapevine, at first as a photocopied newsletter.

The Street Chronicle, the Grapevine's successor, offers an opportunity for Cleveland’s homeless community to speak up about their experiences as the paper also is written mostly by people who are or were, Anderson said.

“It keeps the community at large informed on what actually is going on. It’s our way of activism,” he said. “We can get people who otherwise may not have a voice to write their voice in the paper.”

About half of the vendors who normally sell the paper are quarantining because of coronavirus risks, said NEOCH Director of Strategic Initiatives Molly Martin. Most of the proceeds from any papers sold directly by NEOCH, such as online, will still go to those vendors.

“Homelessness gets a lot of attention this time of year because winter is such a hard time for people on the streets,” Martin said. “We have to activate a lot of cold-weather planning to make sure that people who are unsheltered have access to a warm place to sleep during winter months.”

The wrapping paper edition is available for sale outside the West Side Market and at select retailers who signed up to help, including 3-19 Coffee, Mac’s Backs-Books On Coventry, Cleveland Trade Works and Loganberry Books. The papers will also be available to purchase in stacks of 20 or 50 on NEOCH’s website, Martin said.

“We’re still encouraging people to go and buy it from vendors, since the West Side Market is still open,” Martin said.

Two or three papers will have enough art to wrap a few gifts, Martin said.