Welcome to the first issue of the CoMo Street Gazette. Our goal is to give a voice to our fellow citizens who are often seen but not directly heard by providing an outlet for them to tell their stories. We aim to inform, promote, support them as a community and link them with compassionate, action-oriented people who volunteer to assist them in living a quality and secure life. The Gazette will be published quarterly in the Columbia Missourian.

The Gazette has two intended audiences that seldom read the same material: (1) unhoused, or homeless, folks and their supporters and volunteers and (2) the general public who are curious/interested about the homeless community and who might be drawn to volunteer at a homeless service. We aim to share information that will be of interest to our readers as well as some practical ideas about food, shelter, clothing and transportation that might be useful.

Just as there is no “typical Columbian”, there is no “typical homeless, unhoused, unsheltered, food insecure, or person of the streets.” What they have in common is that they are all human beings with parents, hometowns, and stories to tell. Some are visible on the city streets; some are invisible whether by personal decisions or happenstance.

There are older men and women who have faced one insecurity after another for a large part of their lives, there are young and old people who have suffered brain injuries and no longer make good decisions, there are families who cannot make the increased rent and face evictions, and there are addicts who do not control their lives well. There are people with nowhere to go and no way to get there.

There are ups and downs, successes and failures, there are first timers as well as veterans of harsh living. There are folks who are passing through a rough spot or phase in their lives.

While the Gazette cannot tell all of their stories, we aspire to present honest and authentic essays, poems, art, letters, opinion pieces with an eye on presenting a full and complete picture of the diversity and needs of people struggling to get by.

We welcome and encourage you to give us your suggestions, your stories, your ideas that can be shared with fellow citizens. Contact us at the Columbia Missourian, on Facebook, or by email at comostreetgazette@gmail.com and webberd@missouri.edu.