This is Fred

Another installment of "The Invisible Ones" of Washington, DC

 

This is Fred

Fred is a 60 something gentleman that I met panhandling on the sidewalk in a neighborhood of Washington, DC known as the "Golden Triangle" The commercial neighborhood that is home to more than 3,000 organizations such as top law firms, lobbyists, associations, and architecture firms; 200 restaurants; 300 shops, retailers, and 7 hotels. This area is especially busy during the morning rush hour. For Fred however, he may as well have been sitting in the middle of an open field out in the country as he was invisible to all who passed him by. Fred is a quiet man who only speaks if he is spoken to. If one chooses to do that it becomes very evident that Fred is unable to sustain a coherent conversation. I was able to get Fred to focus on his immediate needs for something to eat  and a bottle of water, which he agreed to in exchange for this photograph. Fred is not able to tell me how long he's been living on the street or anything else about himself that is based in reality. So I thanked him for his time and moved on. It is not uncommon for the homeless and homeless mentally ill to be found in this affluent and prosperous section of the city. As has been the case for years, the irony of this tragic clash of poverty and great wealth is totally lost on the city administration who are currently using the police department to move people along who are deemed to be unsightly or unpleasant in some way. If you see someone like Fred on the street. Spend a few moments asking them if you can help out in some way. Two things will happen, they will feel less invisible for a few minutes and you'll feel better for having made that happen.

This is Marcus

Another installment of "The Invisible Ones of Washington,DC"

I was sitting in a coffee shop near Dupont Circle in Washington, DC when I spotted Marcus and his dog Snoop across the street. They were emerging from a recessed doorway where they had spent the night. Marcus was busily folding blankets and cardboard into a tidy pile that could be carried elsewhere. Snoop was sitting quietly watching the morning passers-by who ignored them both. Marcus told me that he has only been homeless for about six weeks. Prior to that he was living in a boarding house and working as a food delivery man using his bicycle for transportation. He was kicked out of the boarding house after the landlord discovered he had a dog. While sleeping in the park his bicycle was stolen. So now he has what he can carry and, of course, his companion, Snoop. Marcus is a remarkably upbeat and affable young man who is optimistic that he will find a place for himself and his dog, as well as employment. Marcus says he has no family in the area so he is on his own. Things will be difficult for Marcus to say the least. An 80-pound pit bull is not easily accommodated in a boarding house and cannot be taken to work in most places. So for the time being Marcus panhandles to support himself and feed Snoop. He agreed to this photograph in exchange for a food voucher and a bottle of water. If you see Marcus and Snoop in the Dupont Circle area, say hello. Ask if you can help out in someway. don't be afraid of Snoop, he's a sweet and gentle dog.

This is PK and her two pets.

Another installment of "The Invisible Ones" of Washington, DC

This is "PK" and her two pets

PK was brought to my attention by a woman who had seen my Facebook project "Homeless in DC." She had asked if I had ever seen this woman who had two dogs, a beagle and a chihuahua and was frequently sitting in front of Union Station in Washington, DC. I was not aware of her but promised that I would search for her on my next photo outing. Sure enough, I found her this morning as she was just waking up for the day. PK, as she prefers to be called, has been homeless on the streets of DC for just three months. She came here from California to be with a friend living in DC. This didn't work out for some reason and she found herself on the streets. Since it was Summer and the nights were warm sleeping outdoors in Front of Union Station at the Columbus Fountain was tolerable and really her only option as there are no shelters in DC that accept pets. PK is very attached to her two dogs and does her best to provide for them using whatever money she has to make sure they are fed. As for PK she has no plans to try and return to California as there is nothing for her there. She is most concerned about how she will manage when the weather changes and she is still unsheltered and out in the cold. It is not often that people who are homeless have no options at all when it comes to shelter. For PK her options involve giving her pets so that she can be sheltered, which is no option at all as her pets are to quote PK, "all I have left." As a lifelong dog owner I feel for PK and her companions. My sincere hope is that anyone who follows me and my homeless projects will do what they can to help PK. She can be found on the East side of the Columbus Fountain at Union Station. Be sure and say hello to the dogs as well.