A photo of Street Sense's FACE Group.
credit: Chon Gotti

Our vendor advocacy group, Focus Attitude and Commitment to Excellence (FACE), meets every Friday at 10:30 a.m at the Street Sense offices. We welcome new people to sit in our meetings and learn more about the faces behind the paper you read.

Unlike other workshops at Street Sense, the group is 100 percent led and run by the vendors. We set out in a year and a half ago to organize a peer group that would seek out and share information on opportunities available to help raise our fellow vendors and others in the homeless community out of homelessness and joblessness. We wanted to give voice to issues that affect our fellow vendors and others.

FACE was one of five groups that united in 2014 to form DC Hope when an organizers from a Detroit grassroots organization of homeless and formerly homeless people visited our community to guide us to become better self-advocates. We still aim to promote positive solutions for better access housing and jobs for the homeless. The other four groups that joined FACE in this effort are:

* The People for Fairness Coalition (PFFC), at Miriam’s Kitchen

* Be The Change, at N Street Village

* A focus group at Isaiah House, part of SOME (So Others Might Eat)

* Shelter Housing and Respectful Change (SHARC), at the Community for Creative Nonviolence (CCNV)

These groups, along with FACE, are always looking for community members to volunteer their time to help end homelessness in our nation’s capital. Some of our organizational efforts have slowed down because we are not able to bring enough people together to speak with one voice on issues that affect us all.

FACE at Street Sense remains a viable organization which meets weekly. Our members discuss many topics that could become issues to empower each other. One of our most recent goals is to have President Obama address our community as part of a forum, prior to his leaving office.

We are hoping that our readers will help us get the word out about this initiative; build support around the $11 billion dollars President Obama has written into the federal budget to solve homelessness; and promote better accessibility to affordable housing, which the federal government defines as housing that costs no more than 1/3 of a person’s income.

FACE and our advocacy partners believe that moving people out of poverty is a must in order to eliminate this homeless epidemic once and for all. But there must first be available affordable housing based on this 1/3-of-ncome rule. Many minimum or low-wage workers who keep our city running can’t afford to live in it. Providing truly

affordable housing is the best strategy to allow a sizeable number of people to move their lives out of poverty and homelessness.

Please help us empower ourselves to move toward self-sufficiency so that we can have more self-respect. We at FACE urgently need your support so that we can all conquer homelessness.

Let’s work together to be a part of the solution and not the problem! We are counting on all of you for your support.