Another installment of "The Invisible Ones" of Washington, DC
I met Jesse in front of Union Station in Washington, DC early one morning, last week. She was trying to gather up her blankets and other belongings and stuff them into a trash bag to keep the wind from scattering everything. I helped her out with this task and in the process discovered just how seriously mentally ill she was. It was impossible for her to stop talking about her delusions, so focusing on anything that I asked her was equally impossible. She was hungry so I was able to provide something to eat and a hot coffee in exchange for this photo. Getting her to stay still long enough was another chqllenge. I am frequently around this part of the city and have never seen Jesse before. Judging from her dirty clothes and general appearance, I would guess she’s been on the street for quite awhile. Since she is too mentally disturbed to effectively panhandle, I’m not sure how she’s surviving.
Jesse, like many of the other chronically and seriously mentally ill who are living without shelter on the streets of DC are a testament to the failure of the city to care for the most vulnerable of it’s residents. If you see someone like Jesse on the street this Winter stop and see if you can help them out in some way. If possible provide them with a bit of food and a hot drink. You’ll both feel better having had that experience.