Homeless man wins international journalism award
PHILADELPHIA - August 1, 2011 (WPVI) -- Jose Espinosa is a former insurance salesman and sometime actor who now lives in Philadelphia's largest homeless shelter, the RHD Ridge Center.
"I guess you could say this is home," said Espinosa.
His financial situation fell apart when he lost his job, then his home in New York, while caring for his ailing mother in Philadelphia.
Despite his current circumstances, Espinosa won an international journalism award for best interview from the International Network of Street Papers.
In his award winning interview, he profiled fellow shelter resident Matthew Saad Muhammad.
Saad Muhammad was the light-heavyweight boxing champion of the world between 1977 and 1981.
"Here's a gentleman that has tasted fame and fortune. He was at the top for close to three years," said Espinosa.
The article was the cover story of the July issue of One Step Away, a "street paper" written and distributed almost entirely by people who are homeless.
The vendors buy the papers for 25 cents and sell them for a donation of at least one dollar. They can use the proceeds to help them transition into housing.
The paper provides resource information for the homeless, but also strives to educate people about homeless issues.
Espinosa's award is seen as a great way to forward that mission.
Espinosa is hoping that the award and the exposure that the article has brought to his life will help him to create a new future.
pennsylvania, philadelphia, homeless, local/state, amy buckman
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