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About StreetWise

Thu, Jul 7, 2011

StreetWise, Inc. is a social enterprise designed to help the homeless and those at risk of homelessness out of poverty. It is a workforce development agency providing under-served individuals with support & opportunities for professional growth & real employment.

Look for our magazine on the streets and find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Agency Mission

To assist Chicago area men and women, who are facing homelessness, achieve personal stability by providing them with a combination of supportive social services and immediate access to gainful employment.

The Vision

StreetWise will provide Chicagoans in need with, “a hand up, not a handout.” To this end, StreetWise will assure that, by giving any person who is willing to work a stable foundation from which they can move themself out of crisis, no one will find it necessary to beg in order to survive. StreetWise exists so panhandling doesn’t have to!

The organization accomplishes its mission in two ways: first, StreetWise provides its clients an array of social services, with a particular focus on employment training and housing support; second, by publishing a weekly magazine that is bought wholesale by the agency’s vendors and then resold by them for a profit. The StreetWise model combines this opportunity for gainful self-employment with supportive social services to assist vendors on the road to financial self-sufficiency. Since its founding in 1992, more than 9,000 vendors have benefited from the income, training and social service supports provided by StreetWise. In 2011, the agency expects to serve approximately 400 impoverished men and women.

 As a publication, StreetWise Magazine is socially conscious and Chicago-centric. It raises awareness on the impact of poverty and homelessness in Chicago, across the nation, and around the world. The editorial staff work hard to provide intriguing articles about today’s important issues as well as entertaining articles to enhance the reader’s daily life. By engaging the unemployed and underemployed as vendors, StreetWise is able to personalize the face of Chicago’s poor while, at the same time, providing them with an income opportunity.


Employment: Provide immediate access to a legitimate earned income for any person willing to work; and provide the training and support necessary to help our clients secure stable long-term employment.
Housing: Assure that each client is safely and stably housed; and work to move those clients living on the street or in a homeless shelter into non-shelter based housing as quickly as possible.
Financial Literacy: Provide each client with the education and support needed to successfully manage their income and expenses so they can achieve personal/financial stability.

Learn more by visiting these links:

Entrepreneurial Employment & Fiscal Responsibility
Social Service Support
Workforce Resource Center
Respite Services

Chicago Area Poverty

According to the “2010 Report on Illinois Poverty,” released by the Social IMPACT Research Center of Heartland Alliance, 11.8% of Chicago area residents (983,744 persons) are living in poverty while another 15.2% (1,267,381 persons) are at risk of falling into poverty. Citing the stagnant employment rate, the report states that 52% of these individuals living in extreme poverty are not expected to readily find employment. Center Director, Amy Rynell, highlights the fact that even those with part-time employment, “are not able to make ends meet, and they’re making untenable choices each day between food or paying rent, food or medicine.”

Streetwise hopes to continue passionately pushing its mission and to decreasing the numbers of individuals living on the streets or in poverty.

The report is available at http://www.heartlandalliance.org/whatwedo/advocacy/reports/2010-report-on-illinois-poverty-final.pdf


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