There’s some competition in Nashville’s homeless streetpaper business. A church-sponsored publication called Faith Unity Outloud uses roughly the same business model as The Contributor, as well as some of its old vendors.
Faith Unity Outloud looks like a newspaper, but it’s really filled with Christian-themed lessons and articles. It’s published monthly by Gene Boros of the Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet.
More than a hundred vendors now buy the papers for 50 cents and sell them on the roadside for a dollar, plus tips. Many previously worked for The Contributor, which has become one of the most popular streetpapers in the country.
“What can I say?” asks William Adams. “May the best paper win.”
Like Adams, many had a falling out with The Contributor, which enforces a code of conduct for its vendors. They can’t sell the paper while intoxicated, there are assigned corners at busy intersections and they have to go through a training program prior to hitting the streets.
Anthony Hicks says Faith Unity Outloud is different.
“We don’t have a strict set of rules,” he says. “You have to have a photo ID to sign up, but once you do that, you can sell it wherever you want. You can go wherever you want to sell it.”
Hicks says homeless people have a hard enough time following rules. In many cases, he says, that’s why they’re homeless.