By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – You may see them on corners with newspapers in hand. They are offering copies of “The Voice”. Started in 1996 by the homeless. It helps people get off the streets and into homes.

Albert Bland is the perfect example, he stands with papers in hands looking for prospects,

voice The Top Selling Voice Of “The Denver Voice”

(credit: CBS)

“Hi there folks good evening… hope you had a good evening, good dinner and that,” he says.

It’s hard to ignore Albert Bland. And once he has your attention it’s hard not to give a donation for one of his copies of The Voice.

“It’s a street paper, keeps people working like myself,” he told the family gathered approaching him.

voice 1 The Top Selling Voice Of “The Denver Voice”

(credit: CBS)

You might think Albert is homeless. That’s the thing about his story – he’s not anymore.

Peddling The Voice has gotten him and others out of years dispair and into a better life.

“Why did I become homeless?” he asks, “Lack of responsibility no direction, addicted to drugs and alcohol.”

He lived in a shelter in Boulder before he started vending this paper. If you get it for $2.00 you get to keep $1.50. Some of the articles are by the homeless others about them.

As a female customer gives him some cash Albert tells her, “Thank you for remembering me. At least I have my info in there so you can call me for any kind of yard work.”

That yard work started by raking leaves, now he’s “raking” in his money with a landscaping business. Selling the voice, bought him a truck.

voice 3 The Top Selling Voice Of “The Denver Voice”

(credit: CBS)

He even has employees… Ray King calls Albert an inspiration.

“Oh definitely, ’cause every day he’s at it. You know what I mean? No slacking overhead,” King says.

But even with his success in landscaping, Albert remains dedicated to The Voice.

Managing Editor Sarah Ford says Albert and others who distribute The Voice have shown that the homeless are not helpless.

“It’s not asking for a hand-out, it’s giving yourself a hand up,” she said standing in The Voice office as people came in hoping to become vendors.

For those on the streets, Albert advises when you got something you take pride in don’t let it go.

“Thank God if I am where I am at there has got to be something,” Albert laughed as he drove away.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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