Another installment of "The Invisible Ones" of Washington, DC
I met Natasha near the U Street Metro station where she was sitting on a pile of cardboard to avoid the freezing cold sidewalk. As I was approaching her I witnessed a well dressed, young woman lecturing her about why she never gives money to people like her because they just use it to buy drugs. As the woman was leaving Natasha wished her a good day. I asked her if that sort of thing bothers her at all. She just laughed and said, "it is what it is."
Natasha has been homeless since she lost the room she was renting following a fire in the building about two years ago. She tried to stay with a cousin in Baltimore for awhile but ended up coming back to Washington, DC. Despite her bleak situation and having to sleep in whatever space she can find at night, Natasha is surprisingly upbeat and optimistic about her future. Her hope is to one day become a nursing care assistant and help other people less fortunate than herself. Natasha gladly agreed to take a food voucher in exchange for this photograph. Her only request was that I shared the photo with other people. I assured her that I would do exactly that.
If you see someone like Natasha as you go about the business of your daily life, stop and say hello and ask if there is anything that they need that you might help with. I guarantee you'll both be the better for the experience.