Why we’re raising the paper price to $3 

My first paper. Photo by Annemarie Cuccia

Beginning with the publication of our March 13 issue, the cover price of Street Sense will increase to $3. Quite simply, we believe that our hardworking distribution vendors deserve a long-overdue raise and an opportunity to keep pace with inflation. This is only the second time in our 21-year history that we have raised the price, and the first since 2013. Vendors will continue to pay 50 cents per copy to purchase the paper wholesale, meaning they will retain 100% of the increased earnings they make selling the paper at the new cover price. 

Washington, D.C. remains one of the highest cost of living communities in the nation. Housing here is 140% more expensive than the national average. Utilities are 13% higher and food 8% higher. And overall, the cost of living has risen over 24% since the last time we raised our cover price (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and rentcafe.com/cost-of-living-calculator). Of course, you live here and know how hard a burden our high cost of living is day to day. And we share this news knowing that your budget has also been stretched with the last few years of high inflation. But I also know you understand that for our vendors and others at the bottom end of local income bracket, life is that much harder. 

Our vendors live on the very fragile edges of housing insecurity. While more are housed than ever before, few are securely housed. Our hope is this small increase in monthly earnings can help keep more in their current housing situation and allow those who are still in shelters or outside the chance to end their homelessness. There is such a strong connection among housing security, health and lifespan that we are compelled to do whatever we can to help vendors move forward. 

For several months ahead of the decision to raise the cost of the paper, we have given our readers the chance to weigh in. Overwhelmingly, those of you who chose to do so voiced support for this decision. But moving forward, readers retain the final word here — deciding weekly whether they can and will afford to purchase the paper. We hope you will continue to support our vendors and our newsroom — one of the last truly local newsrooms in the area. 

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