Street Roots, advocacy group and publishing network for the marginalized of our society, is in need of a little advocacy, as well. It has come to our attention and was confirmed by the director of the organization that Street Roots vendors have been co-opted by panhandlers scheming to make a quick buck. And it is exactly that: one dollar for the self-published and self-styled newspaper that seeks to “raise social awareness, build community, and create unique career and income opportunities to help homeless people help themselves.” Required, though, is affiliation with Street Roots: training, licensing (a vendor badge) and assignment of a territory. Most outstanding: of every dollar exchanged for a Roots newspaper, 75 cents is direct pay for the vendor.
It is critical to the success of the organizations and the legitimate vendors who sell the paper for the reader of the newspaper to hinder those who are not affiliated with Street Roots, and who are deceptively posing as vendors. This has become increasingly common at Portland State University.
Beware of the impostor who asks if “you really want the paper” as one editorial board member was recently queried between Smith Memorial Student Union and Cramer Hall. Each vendor is required to carry their vendor badge and, most definitely, will not discourage you from taking a paper while soliciting a dollar. Vendors will also not ask for a specific set amount that is more than a dollar; Roots vendors will leave it up to your own discretion.
Although this may seem like a small issue, every single dollar is indispensable. Those who are posing as vendors threaten the stability of the organization and undermine the carefully implemented, positive public perception of Street Roots.
Be aware to whom your dollar is going.