Person First Project – Chris: “The only reason is housing.”

Chris October 2015

Person First Project is a photo blog that seeks to give those currently or formerly experiencing homelessness in D.C. the chance to share their stories. In doing this, we hope to reduce the barriers that separate people in D.C. and spark a dialogue. The Person First Project aims to connect us – and to make us all feel a bit more human.

“I’ve only been homeless for a few months. It’s not because I was locked up, a criminal or on drugs. It’s nothing like that. The only reason is housing. There’s a housing shortage in D.C. They actually stopped taking people. There’s a big population of homeless all over. You [not] only have single men as homeless, you have families, single women. They have priority.

As far as the housing system in D.C. – it is bad. It doesn’t seem like the initiative thought of affordable housing for the poor because all the private contractors got eight of nine condos up. They build all these places up and not think about the poor and the middle class. There’s no affordable housing.

I got injured on the job and went out on medical. When you get injured on the job, you are no longer working because you’re hurt and they don’t have light-duty work. The next step is some type of disability if you’re not able to work. You have to go downtown to get disability; sometime they turn you down. Your tax dollars, even if you work a certain amount of years and you get injured and try and go and get help, they deny you your rights. It’s not like I didn’t work all my life.

Coming to the McKenna Center, they help me a lot. They talk to you; they ask you what needs you [have]. When you come here, you have to clean yourself, that’s important. You take normal showers everyday. You eat breakfast, lunch, then you have computer classes. Certain days they have clothing drives. They take care of all your other issues – If you need a new birth certificate, social security card, or any other personal paperwork. Or, if you need to go to the doctor, they get you referrals and they pay for it. Everything is good. They try to help you, but you have to help yourself.”


4 Comment

  • callmeB

    What an important message. I have only been here for two years, but DC has become a city where being low-middle class is a nightmare. I hope this guy can find a place soon : /

  • Lack of available housing begins and ends with the fact that DC is the dumping ground for surrounding jurisdictions given its relatively robust protections for the homeless. None of this will change until neighboring MD and VA counties start taking on a greater share of the burden that overwhelmingly falls on the District to accommodate.

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