Tag Archives: StreetWise

City’s Newspaper Hawkers Try to Make Ends Meet

By Kim Dunbar, PJ Randhawa and Randell Golman

“Good morning, good morning, Chicago Tribune, 75 cents!”

Keisha Coolidge repeats that phrase as people pass her on their way to work. She is peddling the Chicago Tribune from her spot on the corner of Van Buren and Michigan Avenues.

Coolidge is one of many Chicagoans who sell newspapers on the street in order to make a living. According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, street peddling is in fact part of the city’s legacy, and has provided an important service to Chicago residents and continues to operate as an economic option for entrepreneurs.

From hot dog vendors to impromptu performances, people can find many things on Chicago streets. But for those who hawk newspapers to pay the bills, their reliance on selling what some experts say is a dying industry and product is a growing concern.

Coolidge, 23, is prepared for the worst.

“I’m looking for another job right now,” she said.

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Chicago’s Homeless: Hope for the Future


Rodney Carter tells his story of life on the streets. (Photo: Caitlin Hacker)

In any given year, between 2.5 million and 3.5 million people in the United States live on the streets, not knowing where their next meal will come from or bed will be.

Willy Wilkn Photo

Willy Wilkn sells StreetWise on Michigan Avenue. (Photo by Caitlin Hacker)

People just like Chicago’s Rodney Carter and Willy Wilkn.

ChicagoStorytelling’s Caitlin Hacker, Manuel Argueta and Jessica Ernst interviewed Jenkins, Wilkn and other Chicagoans who recounted how they became homeless, how they survive the brutal winters and how others treat them.

They also interviewed workers from Cafe Too, a restaurant that hires homeless people to help them earn a living and get off of the streets.

Audio Slideshow: Chicago’s homeless tell their stories, and an employee at Cafe Too talks about the journey out of homelessness. Music provided rights-free by PodSafeAudio.com.

Watch the video: