Philadelphia Homeless Man Wins International Journalism Award


Roberts said there has consistently been a great deal of interest in the project because people were eager to tell their stories and have their voices heard. He said that most of the original writers have left the shelter and been able to find housing and employment.

"We found there were a lot of intelligent people that were down, damaged, broken for one reason or another. It's amazing to see them latch onto this thing as a way to tell their story," Espinosa said.

One of the great debates in launching the paper was what to call it. Roberts was surprised that the decision took a couple hours as people argued over the best name.

"We are closer to recovery than people think, and people are closer to each other's stations than they realize," Roberts said, which is why One Step Away was finally chosen.

"Everyone is one step away," Espinosa said.

Though Espinosa is now positive and hopeful about his future, he said there were definitely days that were much more like a "pity party."

"Every passing Christmas and New Year's, you're thinking, 'My God, it's got to be better for next year,'" Espinosa said.

He has not received any job offers yet, but is hopeful and still looking for employment. He would love to work as a writer or entertainer, but is open to all opportunities.

"I hope to get a new lease on life," Espinosa said. "It might inspire someone else to do something, to show you it's not too late in life. Don't give up hope."

Roberts said that Muhammad, the subject of the profile, got a powerful response from telling his story and is now the spokesman for RHD's Knock Out Homelessness campaign. He has been able to leave the shelter and is now an activist for homeless issues.

"Jose is still kind of searching for his ending, which I'm hoping will be equally wonderful," said Roberts.

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