Word on the Street (WOTS) is a social entrepreneurship designed to empower the houseless in Honolulu by giving them a voice, skills and the financial means to escape the difficulties tied to being houseless. Houseless vendors buy the WOTS magazine for $.50 and sell it for a suggested donation of $2.95, which all goes to them. The houseless vendors have the opportunity to build their own future via their magazine sales and a related training course, which has the positive effects of giving them much needed income, entrepreneurial skills, motivation to stay clean from drinking and drugs, discipline and a boost in morale. The WOTS magazine is created by a core team of 6 volunteers with extensive experience in journalism, marketing, psychology and working with the houseless in Honolulu. We have already designed the magazine, mapped out vending districts and have over 60 people who have pledged to buy the first issue. WOTS is based upon a successful model that has been implemented in many other cities and serves as an effective tool to mitigate houselessness. "The Contributor" in Nashville (www.thecontributor.org) had to cap its number of vendors at 400, while the UK based Big Issue (www.bigissue.com) sells 120,000 copies a week. Word on the Street has the potential to create hundreds of jobs for the Honolulu houseless, invigorate the disadvantaged and strengthen our community’s health.
Funded by Oahu, HI (May 2015)