One Step Away is a Philly-based newspaper that raises awareness of and provides employment for the homeless.
One Step Away vendor Neal McLaurin is one of five finalists nominated for a 2013 International Street Newspaper Award for “Things Can Change,” his essay about overcoming street life to become an actor. Income from One Step Away allowed McLaurin to pay for housing and drama classes to live his dream by performing in plays.
It’s clear that people like McLaurin can change if given a second chance. In the US, poor people are viewed as bad people too often. Ever see white-collared crimes on COPS? I think not. How about crimes in ghettos? You bet. TV exploits the unfortunate.
But according to national, state and local reports on causes of homelessness, jail time falls seventh to forced relocation, drugs/alcohol, housing issues, medical/disability problems, family problems and, at fifty percent, employment/financial reasons.
In Parkesburg, many low-income citizens live in The Arms. It’s easy to turn your head to pedophiles, drug dealers and prostitutes for obvious reasons. But what about the veterans and families who deserve a second chance? What about the residents like McLaurin waiting for a community to hoist them?
In coming months, Parkesburg Today is going to investigate the stories behind the people of The Arms. To know their names, troubles and past through conversations with tenants, cops and locals. If you have a story or opinion on The Arms, please post a comment below.
Helping those in need is one step away.