Person First Project – Troy

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 am an alcoholic and I know it. I don’t even know the last time I had a drink. I don’t feel like that. If you get drunk, it affects your mind, and a lot of times you don’t do what you’re supposed to do. And, right now I need a place to stay.

I walk a lot. From here, I walk up to 14th street. Sit around there and talk to some friends. Then I go to the library and then the bus comes by and picks me up. You get off and sign in, they give you a bed. Everybody can’t shower. There are around 300-400 people and there aren’t that many showers. You need to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning to shower.

If the police stopped me they wouldn’t know who I am. They would lock me up because I have no identification. I live in a shelter, right? I went one day and got a Social Security card. Went to bed and woke up in the morning and it was gone. The identification I have now? I don’t have none.

I went in there last night. When I went there, I had a towel, soap and a face cloth. But, I hung the towel on the bed. It’s got legs and walked. Anything you set, it gets legs and it walks.

I don’t live like I want to live, I live the way I have to live. The only way that’s gonna change is if I do it. No one else will do it for me.”


Author’s note: Troy is currently experiencing homelessness and bouncing from shelter to shelter. We met him at the Father McKenna Center.

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