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.
Ed. Note: per MPD “Please keep the hypothermia hotline phone numbers readily available – (202) 399-7093 or 1(800) 535-7252”
“When I was younger my mother moved us from our house to live with this gentleman who she thought she would be happy with, but then he kicked us out. We were on the street after that and we’ve had our ups and downs in our relationship with the shelter system. Now my mother is in a HOC program. I was staying with her, but when I turned twenty-five they said I had to leave so she wouldn’t get in trouble. I’ve been on the streets for about two and a half years – I have no residence anywhere.
The warming center at the John F Kennedy Recreation Center has been playing a pivotal role in my life lately. It opens up when it gets really cold out at night and they’ve been keeping me warm, out of the cold, and off the streets for the past two weeks. If it wasn’t for their hypothermia program I would basically freeze to death. On days when it’s not real cold, I have to stay out on the street. I just have these blankets to warm me.
I would just like to inspire people to have faith in people that are homeless. They have the ability to move forward – they are worthwhile, and helping them can help everybody else. When they hit rock bottom they have the ability to pick themselves up and move back into society, and they can get to that point where they feel like they weren’t left behind. When others pull away it makes people that are homeless feel like they aren’t worth it. But when you help them and you bring them up, you can inspire a person to believe in themselves again. If we keep that up we won’t lose so many people.”
– Jordan in Chinatown