Delphia Simmons says she has no previous media experience. But as a project manager for the Coalition on Temporary Housing
in the Cass Corridor, she learned a lot about the plight of the city's homeless. And after a whirlwind summer, this winner of 2011's Kiva Detroit mini-grant program
will launch Thrive Detroit, the city's first street paper, in time for the November charter commission vote.
Street papers, which offer homeless and at-risk entrepreneurs the ability to work as vendors by selling the papers (and keeping the proceeds) are lively additions to the local media scene in cities like Ann Arbor and Boulder, CO. Simmons, working in partnership with the Detroit chapter of the National Association for Black Journalists, Model D (which will share content with Thrive) and community writers, will offer readers a monthly 12-page tabloid-style publication for $1. Vendors purchase the papers for 25 cents each; and keep the proceeds. Simmons and a team of five are currently laying out the issue from their office at COTS headquarters on Peterboro St.
Simmons says Thrive Detroit will provide a niche by spotlighting social justice and community issues. "We'll have information on the charter vote, a relationship column, a movie review, and a story on Occupy Detroit," she says of the debut issue. "There was a wedding down at the Occupy Detroit site in Grand Circus Park, and we were there to shoot it."
Simmons says Thrive Detroit is still waiting for the city to grant the nonprofit street permits for their vendors to sell papers. For now, they will offer subscriptions. She says they're also looking for local businesses which would be willing to host a vendor selling copies on their property. If you're a local business owner who is interested in helping Thrive Detroit see the light, head to their website
(you can also provide a donation).
Source: Delphia Simmons, founder, Thrive Detroit
Writer: Ashley C. Woods