Another installment of “The Invisible Ones” of Washington, DC
I noticed Shannon panhandling just outside the Whole Foods Market in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, DC. This is a very busy spot during the morning rush hours but Shannon was being ignored by almost everyone who passed by, making her one of the invisible ones. Shannon says she’s been living on the streets of Washington, DC for over 10 years. She came to DC from Annapolis, Maryland with a boyfriend who is now in prison and has been homeless ever since. Shannon’s lack of shelter is complicated by her addiction problems. She has a noticeable tremor which she says is due to alcohol withdrawal. Shannon is no stranger to detox programs but cannot manage to stay clean and sober. She was recently beaten and raped while staying at a shelter. You can see the wound on her forehead in the photograph. It is for this reason that she prefers to sleep on the street where it is safer. Shannon is a pleasant and affable woman who is not aggressive with her panhandling. She sits quietly, with her tattered cardboard sign asking for whatever help a passerby cares to give. She agreed to this photograph in exchange for a bottle of water and something to eat. If you know or see someone like Shannon, stop for a minute and ask if you can help in someway. You’ll both be better off for having had that conversation.