Another installment of “The Invisible Ones” of Washington, DC
Barbie was sitting on a sidewalk in the trendy NOMA neighborhood of NE Washington, DC surrounded by her worldly possessions. She was not panhandling, just sitting quietly. Barbie tells me she has been in this spot for about six weeks and living on the street since November of 2015. Barbie is 35 years old and is most concerned with the police coming around and forcing her to move on. She has already had many of her possessions stolen by strangers and would like to keep what she has left. The random sweeps done by the Washington, DC police department are making life on the street much more difficult than it already is. Barbie is tentatively connected to Social Services and has a caseworker who was working on housing. This plan collapsed when her boyfriend was arrested and is now in jail. I did ask about the black eye and was told that it happened during a fight. Like so many homeless people, Barbie lives on the street rather than in the shelters which can be dangerous, especially for women. So she will remain where she is until forced to move on by the police for the crime of living without shelter. Barbie agreed to this photograph in exchange for a bottle of water and a cash donation. If you happen to see Barbie or someone like her, stop and ask if you can help in some way. I’m sure Barbie has more of a story to tell if someone will listen. I guarantee you’ll both feel better having had that experience.