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One Step Away: We all fall, but we can get back up

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."

Ronald is one of dozens of men and women who are working to change their lives by distributing Philadelphia's street newspaper. One Step Away vendors are making strides toward self-sufficiency, and use the money they earn to acquire their own housing, start savings accounts, care for their children and families, and break the cycle of homelessness. They work in different circumstances and often in difficult conditions, because they have found that distributing One Step Away helps spread a voice of advocacy for people experiencing homelessness and affords people opportunity, dignity and respect.

When not selling papers for One Step Away, Ronald volunteers, helping people who are experiencing homelessness.

"It helps people who are down on their luck get off the streets," he said. "It's like we fall, but we can get up.

"Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love; people love each other. We all need to come together and live and come together and live and learn to love one another. We all fall, but we can get up."

Lauren is a student at Temple University and is a volunteer writer with One Step Away. She contributed this profile of Ronald, one of the vendors for Philadelphia's street newspaper.