Carrying a stack of newspapers and wearing the trademark lime neon-green vest, Brian Belcher, a vendor of One Step Away, makes his way to the corner of 18th and Market in Center City Philadelphia.
Throughout the day there are hit-and-miss chances as Belcher attempts to sell the paper, which only costs a dollar and written by those who are homeless in the city.
“One Step Away, Philadelphia’s first newspaper by the homeless. One dollar donation,” Belcher chanted early one morning as Philadelphians busily and knowingly pass him by.
Belcher, 35, who once was homeless, understands the struggles that his peers are going through. And even though only a few Philadelphians may stop at first, Belcher is optimistic, adding that it’s “still early.”
When donating a dollar for a One Step Away newspaper, 75 cents goes directly into the pockets of the paper’s vendors. The remaining 25 cents goes toward the cost of printing the paper.
Belcher has been a part of One Step Away for two and a half years now, it has become a means of economic support allowing him to live a “proper manner” in Philadelphia and support his three children who range from ages 1 to 6.
“I first heard about One Step Away through a friend and decided to give becoming one of their vendors a try,” Belcher said.
A single thought ran through Belcher’s mind as he lived on the streets of Philadelphia: how could he gain income and get somewhere further in life instead of staying in a homeless shelter.
“It was rough,” he said. “It was rough, but I did it. Right now, I’m not homeless. If it wasn’t for One Step Away, I would not have been able to get through my own trial and tribulations,” he said.