This is Jacob

Another installment of “The Invisible Ones” of Washington, DC

This is Jacob
This is Jacob

I spotted Jacob on a Wednesday morning at 5th & I Streets, NW just east of Chinatown. He had positioned himself sitting on the sidewalk at a very busy bus stop where as many as 20 people que up waiting for a particular bus. I watched him for a period of time as two buses came and went unloading and loading commuters. Jacob could have been a fire hydrant given the scant amount of attention he received from these people. I introduced myself and learned a bit about Jacob’s circumstances. He has been homeless for about 10 months since coming to Washington, DC from South Carolina. Sadly, he can’t say why he left South Carolina. I noticed a George Washington University Hospital wrist band and asked him about that. He said he was in the emergency room recently for fainting spells but wasn’t admitted. Jacob seems to have some type of impairment in that he speaks in a whisper and has great difficulty formulating his thoughts. He tells me he was in the Army and is a veteran. I have no way to know if that is so and he says he’s never been to a VA hospital. It is difficult talking to Jacob as he appears to be in pain although he says he’s not. He has been sleeping outside in parks and under bridges and gets by on the kindness of those passersby who give him food or money. He agreed to allow me to make this photograph in return of a food voucher and a bottle of water. The high heat and humidity will make life miserable for Jacob. I gave him directions to one of the city’s cooling centers which was very near where we were sitting. If you live or work in this neighborhood and see Jacob, say hello and help him out if you can. You’ll both be better off for the experience.

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