Media

The Voice of the People: Groundcover News

People who are experiencing homelessness are often disregarded in the media. The unhoused community is frequently ignored due to lower social standing and the stigma that they are not willing to help themselves. Even worse, when they do get news coverage, it is typically for the removal of homeless communities. 

Los Angeles is well-known for the forced removal of homeless encampments. According to the Los Angeles Times,

“In a 12-2 vote, the [city] council outlawed sitting, sleeping and lying at 54 locations in three of its districts. Amid contentious debate over the summer, the council enacted new rules regulating sitting, sleeping and storing property near fire hydrants, building entrances, driveways, libraries, parks, elementary schools and several other locations.”

Cities tend to move these communities due to gentrification in close-by areas. When affluent people move in, they demand to not see the strife caused by their lifestyle and the incessant need for monetary growth.

Ann Arbor, MI is a good example of a city with both a high collegiate and unhoused population. Many students from nearby universities such as Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti, MI) or Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH) will also visit Ann Arbor due to its larger city size and cultural richness in comparison.

It is strange to see these two very different lifestyles come together in downtown Ann Arbor. It may be concluded that these more affluent college students might not want people that are unhoused around either, but the Ann Arbor unhoused community has a strong base thanks to non-profit organizations like Groundcover News.

Groundcover News advocates for people that are experiencing homelessness in the area. Similarly to The HomeMore Project, they not only promote and plan homelessness solutions, they also write articles pertaining to unhousing crises. One thing that separates Groundcover News is that they publish a newspaper written mostly by people who are or were formerly homeless. 

Groundcover News vendors can be found selling newspapers around downtown Ann Arbor. Proceeds from Groundcover go toward paying organizational bills and weekly cash payments to vendors. Many college students and townies can be seen ignoring and avoiding eye contact with people that are unhoused, but these advocates will not let you forget the realities of this the city and its very apparent income inequality.

This is a local paper, but it’s not a local issue. The high rate of homelessness in southeast Michigan communities such as Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Flint, is a microcosm of American greed and individualism. But, hope is not lost. 

Publications like Groundcover News and readers across the country can help in the fight for what’s right. The first step is staying up-to-date with unhousing crises. Then, action must be taken in order to assist those who need the most help in the best way possible. When politicians and businesspeople don’t answer the call, will you?

Resources:

https://groundcovernews.org/

https://www.latimes.com/homeless-housing/story/2021-10-20/l-a-city-council-bans-homeless-encampments-at-54-spots

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