Another installment of “The Invisible Ones” of Washington, DC
George is a 50 something man who has been living without shelter in Washington, DC for the last year. He came to DC a year ago from South Carolina where he was also homeless for about ten years. George tells me he came to DC to live with his brother who had an apartment and was willing to allow George to stay there. That went badly according to George and after just a few months he was back on the streets and the brother moved away. George managed to survive last Winter by sleeping at various shelters and panhandling. He was briefly hospitalized after being beaten and robbed at one of the shelters. His vision is impaired in his left eye as a result of that incident. George attributes much of his life difficulties to substance abuse and bad decisions. He has some skills in the construction trades but has not been able to work for years. Over the course of last Winter, George has managed to save some money that he is planning to use to buy a bus ticket and head South. He tells me he keeps the money in a jar in a secret location. At the end of the day, he uses some of his panhandling money to buy food and the rest is deposited in the jar. He laughingly says, “he may be homeless but he’s not stupid enough to carry his savings around in his pocket.” “They might rob me and beat me but they ain’t getting anything but the clothes on my back.” Such is life on the streets of Washington, DC.
George is a friendly, pleasant and conversational man who says he could easily sit and talk with me for hours but he needs to get busy panhandling as the morning rush hour is the best time for him. He readily agreed to this photograph in exchange for a cash donation, a bottle of water and some food. If you see George or someone like him, ask if you can help in some way and spend a few minutes listening. You’ll both be better off for having had that experience.