Another installment of “The Invisible Ones” of Washington, DC
I noticed Henry as I was walking on the other side of 1st Street, NE in Washington, DC. This particular street runs parallel to Union Station and is a well-used sleeping place for people who are homeless. Henry was among them this particular morning and stood out more than others because he was sleeping on several plastic bags stuffed full of printed materials, some of which can be seen in the photograph. Henry is easily engaged in conversation but only on his terms. If you choose to listen for awhile you will hear about his pending Supreme Court case and his wrongful discharge case against the Pentagon as well as his being in the witness protection program because he is a whistleblower. All of this he claims is contained in the piles of paper upon which he is sitting. I have not seen Henry before in this part of the city. When asked how long he has been living on the street he just shrugs his shoulders and begins searching through his papers as if the answer might be there. Frustrated with that he returns to the Supreme Court case, saying that he will finally get some justice. It is virtually impossible to determine the veracity of anything that Henry says. What can be known is that he is sleeping on the street, surrounded by bags of letter sized paper and is in need of clean clothing. He does not panhandle but instead tries to engage passersby in listening to his story. Given that this is a major commuter route to Union Station he is largely invisible to most who haven’t the time or the inclination to just say hello. Things will get more difficult for Henry as the weather turns colder. If you are so inclined, help him out however you can. I gave Henry a food voucher and a cup of coffee in exchange for this photograph.