Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Homeless in Oklahoma City, OK: Robert

Robert Hanika
Photo by Al Griffin

Stepping out of a Starbucks in the Bricktown district of Oklahoma City, I found Robert sitting on a stone retaining wall with a bright vest and a suitcase. He said he was selling the Curbside Chronicle, a new street newspaper in Oklahoma City, providing news about local culture, inner-city event news, and profiles by and about those living on the street. 

Street newspapers have sprung up in several cities worldwide as a way for homeless persons to earn an income while clawing their way up from a street existence. They receive the first bundle free and sell them for $2.00; after that, they buy the papers for $.75 and keep the profit from the sale of each paper. 

Robert had been a skilled carpenter and construction man for years, but lost his house and worldly possessions in the economic collapse and just could not get back on his feet. Robert went on to be one of the top salesmen I was told by the publisher of the paper.