Give a Hand Up

Opportunity and a voice for people facing homelessness.

Transformative opportunity

People facing homelessness and poverty become Vendors who sell magazines and online subscriptions to earn emergency cash and long-term recurring income.

Pursuit Packs — "A Job in a Box"

Pursuit Packs provide immediate opportunity for people facing homeless.

Each pack contains resources for someone on the streets to earn emergency cash, establish long-term recurring income, and impact their community in a positive way.

Volunteers anywhere can hand out Pursuit Packs, empower storytellers, support those in need with their social capital, and transform lives with dignity.

Give a Voice. Give Opportunity. Give Hope.

Your support to Speak Up ensures that this opportunity remains strong and growing.Thank you for generous support.

P.O. Box 36813
Rock Hill, SC 29732

Email Newsletter

Never miss an update!

Resources for volunteers, vendors, writers, and everyone in the Speak Up Community.


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.A VOICE
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.REAL INCOME
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.VISION
“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.TEAM
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