This is Richard

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

I met Richard outside of an office building early one morning just before Christmas. It appeared he had slept in a small alcove near the entrance. Richard has no possessions other than the clothes he is wearing which are badly in need of washing. He has shoes but no socks. When I asked Richard how he was doing and if he needed anything, it became clear that he also had some serious mental health issues. He spoke only in a soft whisper and it was almost impossible to make sense of anything that he said. I was able to learn that he had not eaten recently so I bought him some food and a coffee for which he was grateful. This allowed me to explain the photography project and get his agreement to allow me to make this photograph. Interestingly, he recognized the camera brand that I use and was interested in seeing it more closely. Beyond that there is little I can say about Richard other than he is badly in need of shelter and mental health services. I will make the programs that I work with in DC aware of him and hopefully their outreach teams will be able to make a connection. There are far too many men and women like Richard living without shelter in Washington, DC. Should you see any of them as you head back to work this week, stop for a moment and ask if you can help in some way. At the very least just say hello. I guarantee you’ll both be the better for the experience.

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