Another installment of “The Invisible Ones” of Washington, DC
Reginald is a 56-year-old homeless gentleman who has been living on the streets of Washington, DC for about 10 years. When I met him he was sitting near a construction site on the corner of 20th and L streets NW, DC. He was panhandling but not doing very well because people were walking around the construction rather than passing by him. When I asked him why he didn’t just relocate, he said this intersection of 20th and L has been his home for many years. He has seen buildings come and go, businesses, bars, and restaurants open and close. Reginald tells me there was a time when he could make as much as $50 during the morning rush and better than that in the evening. Those days are long gone, he says. He is hopeful that after the current construction is done things will improve on the street. Reginald says he is on the waiting list for a housing voucher. As a practical matter that is really a cruel joke because that list is decades long and having your name on the list guarantees nothing but waiting. Reginald tells me he was once diagnosed as a Paranoid Schizophrenic but has not had any symptoms for more than 20 years. Another Dr. told him that is was probably a mistake. Reginald is an affable and friendly man who is easy to engage in conversation. He agreed to this photograph in exchange for a bottle of water and a food voucher. If you are in the area of 20th and L streets NW, you’ll find him there. Stop and ask him how he’s doing and what you might do to help him feel a little less invisible even for a few minutes. You’ll both feel better having had that experience.