Voice & Opportunity

A voice for those without.

Opportunity for people facing homelessness.

✏️ A Voice for those without

Speak Up is a printed and online publication that gives a voice to the voiceless.

Storytellers facing homelessness, poverty, incarceration, and addiction share essays, interviews, videos, photos and art.

True stories from real people.

🔥 A Transformative opportunity

People facing homelessness and poverty become Vendors who sell Speak Up magazines and online subscriptions for immediate and long-term income.

🏆 A Community of purpose

The above magazine and opportunity are driven by a growing community of citizen Champions—inspired individuals who pass out Start Kits, empower storytellers, and transform lives with dignity.

👍 About Speak Up

Speak Up is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit based in Charlotte, NC. Learn more.

Donations are tax-deductible.


A voice for those without.

Opportunity for people facing homelessness.

Voiceless People write their stories, which are printed in Speak Up Magazine. Homeless people sell the magazine and earn enough money to get off the streets.

The result is immediate income, dignity and a pathway off the streets.

Homeless people write the magazine—essays, experiences, artwork, and photography. The work they produce is surprising, honest, and inspiring.

Readers of Speak Up experience content that can't be found anywhere else. It is honest without whining and hopeful without pandering.

The published magazines are distributed for donations on the streets and in public places by people facing homelessness. Each vendor keeps all the cash from their transactions. They spend the money on the basics of life–food, shelter, transportation. After the first 20 free magazines, vendors purchase more copies from Speak Up for 20% of the cover price.

Through Speak Up, people facing homelessness develop their voice and earn immediate income by their own hands. They grow in resilience, develop marketable communication skills, and come to see themselves as worthwhile contributors to society.

Over 500 individuals facing homelessness have partnered with Speak Up as writers and vendors since 2011.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9)
The human soul has immeasurable value.Developing individuals is of the highest priority.Dignity is a right for all persons.A meaningful life of purpose can lived by everyone.A better way can probably be found. Purposeful change and innovation are welcome.
The first issue of Speak Up was published in 2011 in Charlotte, NC.

90 issues have been published since then.

Speak Up is a member of the Glasgow-based International Network of Street Papers, which provides guidance for similar initiatives around the globe. In 2015 and 2018, Speak Up won the INSP award for “Best Vendor Contribution,” given annually celebrate the published contributions of homeless writers.

Speak Up Magazine is a 501(c)3 Public Charity.

Matt Shaw, Executive Director / Editor
Peggi Knowe, editing and admin
Harry Griffin, homeless writer’s workshop
Lana Shaw, Editor

Phil Felten, Association Management Solutions
Lisa Koons, Charlotte 24-7 Prayer Room
Bill Shaw, Urban Opportunities for Change Foundation
Cal Queener, Treasurer
Lindsay DaCosta, Secretary

Charlotte Agenda (12/22/15)
Has Charlotte Made Progress in Ending Homelessness?

WFAE NPR (12/16/14)
Speak Up Magazine: Giving a Voice to Charlotte’s Homeless

Creative Loafing Charlotte (3/27/13)
Speak Up Magazine Gets Another Chance

Charlotte Observer: State of the Art Blog (8/29/12):

Charlotte’s coolest new magazine
Charlotte Magazine (11/01/11):

The People’s Publication
FOX News Charlotte (10/08/11):

Charlotte’s First Street Magazine Headed to a Corner Near You
CLT Blog (10/07/11):

Word on the Street: Charlotte’s First Street Mag, Speak Up
Red White and Green Photography Blog (8/23/11):

Speak Up
Permission to Peruse (8/22/11):

Speak Up
Crossroads Charlotte (7/18/11):
New street paper wants to ‘Speak Up’ for Charlotte’s homeless

Charlotte Observer (7/10/11):
Street Mag Will Give Homeless a Voice