Spare Change News was founded in 1992 by a group of homeless people, along with one housed advocate who was a member of Boston Jobs with Peace. Since its inception the publication has striven to simultaneously elevate the voices of economically disadvantaged people—especially the homeless—in the greater Boston area and provide an opportunity for low-threshold employment to people who find it difficult to obtain more conventional work due to myriad types of adversity. Shortly after its foundation Spare Change was subsumed under a newly incorporated 501(c) 3 organization, the Homeless Empowerment Project (HEP), which continues to publish the newspaper.
Additionally, HEP has implemented other empowerment programs for homeless and economically disadvantaged people. These include computer training classes and the Homeless Speakers' Bureau, which offers the opportunity for people who have experienced housing and economic adversity to tell their story at paid speaking engagements.
The Mission of the Homeless Empowerment Project (HEP)
Our mission is to empower the economically disadvantaged in greater Boston through self-employment, skills development, and self-expression. We also strive to create forums, including independent media, that reshape public perceptions of poverty and homelessness.
The Homeless Empowerment Project is a grass-roots organization comprised primarily of people who have either been homeless, have worked with the homeless, or wish to become active in our effort to impact the tragedy of homelessness and poverty. Our agenda of empowerment through economic- and skills-development opportunities is carried out in many ways, including through staff, committee, and Board of Director membership opportunities.
Board, Committees, and Panels
The Board of Directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which meets monthly, is made up of volunteer members from many walks of life, including a minimum of three seats reserved for Spare Change News vendors. In addition, HEP has several standing committees and ad hoc committees that guide the day-to-day functioning of the organization. HEP opens its doors to all who wish to participate in committee meetings, including the general public.