Another installment of “The Invisible Ones of Washington, DC”
When I first noticed Curtis, he was having a conversation with someone who was giving him a bag with what I thought might be food or other supplies. It’s not uncommon for generous benefactors to help out select street people in that way, especially those they pass by everyday. As it turns out Curtis had received a warm jacket, a hat and gloves which he is wearing in my photograph. Needless to say he was having a good day considering he is living on the street. Curtis has only been in DC for a few weeks, coming from Richmond, VA where he was in jail for 120 days on a trespassing charge. He told me that he wasn’t doing anything more than what he was doing now, sitting on the street panhandling. Apparently the police in Richmond are on a campaign to clean up the tourist areas and the homeless are being removed. Upon his release he decided to relocate rather than risk getting incarcerated again. Curtis is originally from Arkansas. he became unemployed and headed East this past Summer looking for work. His savings soon ran out and he became caught in the spiral of homelessness and chronic unemployment. He plans to spend the Winter in DC and perhaps head back to Arkansas in the Spring. He is hoping to save enough panhandling money to get a bus ticket. Unlike some homeless folks, Curtis says he can take care of himself in the shelter where he sleeps. The trick he says is to make it clear that people shouldn’t mess with you.