One Step Away
By Ted, One Step Away
I often get asked by people if I think selling newspapers has been helpful to me, or how it’s helped. Aside from getting some income, it has helped me with issues that I had struggled with in years past — issues that a lot of people face whether they’re put through financial hardship or not. It’s also given me an outlet to tell a few stories.
I hadn’t gotten the chance to write much of anything in years, and had forgotten that I could do it. In the seven years I’ve been on the street I had more experiences, negative and positive, than I could ever remember. So I really appreciate the chance to tell some of the ones that stood out, and what I took away with me. My writing has improved because of it.
One Step Away
By Lauren Mayes
Ronald found himself homeless and living at the Occupy encampment in 2011 when he was introduced to One Step Away. He has been vending ever since.
“One Step Away helps me stay employed and self-reliant,” Ronald said. “I don’t need to panhandle or shoplift. It helps pay for housing.”
One Step Away
They are proud veterans who knew the jungles of Cambodia and the deserts of Afghanistan, who worked as electricians on naval ships, translated Russian in the Cold War, and monitored the weather in Korea. But they dealt with haunting memories of war, drugs and alcohol, depression, loss of jobs and families, and eventually fell into homelessness. They found a healing community, and are now standing proud, at home.
Their stories are the subject of a video and photography project which gives a face and a voice to veterans who have experienced homelessness. “Vets Finding a Home” opened at Project H.O.M.E.’s 1515 Fairmount Avenue residence on Thursday, May 29 and will run until June 20.
This project, sponsored by Project H.O.M.E. as part of its 25th anniversary commemoration in 2014, is a collaboration between award-winning photographer Harvey Finkle and Mark Lyons of the Philadelphia Storytelling Project.
One Step Away
Matthew Saad Muhammad’s public memorial service will be June 5 at Enon Church West, 230 W. Coulter St. in Philadelphia. The viewing is from 9-11 a.m., with services immediately afterward. All of Matthew’s many fans and friends are welcome to attend.
Matthew’s family made plans for a public memorial after numerous requests from fans and friends who wanted to pay their respects. Anyone who would like to make a donation to help the family pay funeral expenses, please contact Deborah L. Wilson Funeral Home, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-848-9776.
Saad Muhammad, former light heavyweight champion and member of the Boxing Hall of Fame who in later years worked as an advocate for people experiencing homelessness, passed away May 25 at Chestnut Hill Hospital. He was 59.
Matthew Saad Muhammad gave people hope.
The former light heavyweight champion and member of the Boxing Hall of Fame passed away May 25 at Chestnut Hill hospital after battling a lengthy illness. Matthew was a Philadelphia legend who rose to become a world champion after he was abandoned on the Ben Franklin Parkway as a child, one of the most iconic life stories in sports history. He will be remembered as a great champion, an absolutely heroic action fighter with a giant heart and one of the great gentlemen in sports.
At One Step Away, where in later years Matthew worked to become an advocate for people experiencing homelessness as spokesperson for One Step Away’s Knock Out Homelessness campaign, he’ll be remembered for the way he worked to give people hope – in and out of the ring.
On May 15, One Step Away had its annual Knock Out Homelessness fundraiser, presented by Independence Blue Cross. Thank you to all who attended, participated and supported Philadelphia’s street newspaper. Your support of our mission helps us offer people experiencing homelessness meaningful income and personal growth opportunities while raising awareness and advocacy to create solutions and change so that everyone has the shelter they deserve.
Special thanks to great former champions Nate Miller, Dwight Muhammad Qawi and Buster Drayton, who were among those who lent a hand to help us Knock Out Homelessness. Unfortunately, Matthew Saad Muhammad, the former light heavyweight champion and Boxing Hall of Famer, could not attend. Matthew has hosted Knock Out Homelessness, an event inspired his own true life story, every year since its inception. This year, unfortunately, Matthew is battling a serious illness – although he sends his sincere thanks to everyone for their support and best wishes. Our thoughts and prayers are with Matthew and his family at this difficult time.
In all, a terrific crowd at Chickie’s and Pete’s helped support a program that works to break the cycle of homelessness at an event that featured video gaming and a silent auction of sports and entertainment memorabilia. We were also able to have some of our vendors make an appearance at the fundraiser and tell their stories.
One Step Away
Cynthia Brooks knew that everything starts with housing. She also knew that housing is just the first step in a long journey. And for a quarter century, she’s been helping mothers attain and maintain housing and change their lives for themselves and their children. Brooks is the director of Endow-A-Home, which this year celebrates 25 years of helping mothers move from homelessness to homeownership, as one of the most successful homelessness programs in the country.
Endow-A-Home has been kept alive largely through the efforts of Brooks, who headlines One Step Away’s Steppy Awards, presented each year by Philadelphia’s street newspaper to honor the heroes among us working to end homelessness and serve people in need every day. For a full list of Steppy Award winners, click here.
Endow-A-Home began as a project that sought to fight homelessness among Philadelphia’s single moms by giving them the financial tools to own their own homes. At first, Endow-A-Home was like most programs that work to end homelessness — it was about shelter. But Brooks believed that homelessness was a symptom of a larger debilitating issue, and she began attacking the root causes with a focus on intense case management.
Matthew Saad Muhammad is entering the ring for his next fight, as an advocate in the battle against homelessness. He's the spokesperson for One Step Away's “Knock Out Homelessness" campaign, working to raise awareness and benefit One Step Away, Philadelphia's street newspaper, in its mission to end homelessness in Philadelphia. Saad Muhammad has hosted the annual Knock Out Homelessness fundraiser each year since 2011. Find out how you can help Knock Out Homelessness here.
* * *
By Matthew Saad Muhammad (as told to Kevin Roberts, One Step Away editor)