Streetwise celebrates 25 years of helping the homeless

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Celebrating 25 years of helping the homeless men and women of Chicago, Streetwise Magazine has employed thousands of people over the years. (WLS)

Streetwise Magazine, having employed thousands of people over the years, is celebrating 25 years of helping the homeless men and women of Chicago.

More than 12,000 vendors have sold Streetwise since it was founded in 1992.

Vendor Andrew Allen has sold Streetwise for five years.

"Streetwise gave me back my self-esteem, it gave me back my dignity," said Allen. "I came to Streetwise, it was the last house on the block. I was tired of going in and out of jail and I wanted to make an honest living."

The magazine's model is designed to create entrepreneurs. Vendors buy the magazines for 90 cents each and sell them for $2 to make a profit.

"It is a hand up," said Streetwise Executive Director Julie Youngquist. "Our vendor force, they want to work. They are looking for an opportunity to make a change in their life."

The magazine's founder Judd Lofchie said he hopes to see it continue to grow and help more people.

"I would love this expand to other cities," Lofchie said. "I would love to see that. More jobs for the vendors, which we are doing. We have a full-time person dedicated to that, but I think there are cities around the world that could use this."

Allen said he has used the opportunity to make great changes in his life.

"I finally got my own place," Allen said. "I have a one bedroom apartment, and thanks to Streetwise, I can pay my rent, I can pay my utilizes, I can have a bank account and keep money in my pocket."

The magazine's content focuses on issues that impact the homeless community, like budget cuts and affordable housing.

This week's anniversary issue highlights the publication's history and shares more stories like Allen's.
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