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Person First Project – Allen “I’m okay…. But, it’s just… help. I need help.”

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’m okay…. But, it’s just… help. I need help.”

What kind of help?

“That’s just it. I don’t even know. I’m good financially; I’m on social security. But the steps are what I’m having trouble with. The steps to get my own place, having my own food, never asking nobody for nothin’… that’s where I want to be at.

Say if you were in my shoes. You have about $1,100 you get on the third of the month. You ain’t got bills or a place to stay. No phone. No responsibilities, no nothing. I’m homeless. How would you manage? For me, soon as I get it, three days and it’s back to square one. Spent because I smoke K2.”

Doesn’t that scare you? I’ve heard a lot about the side effects of K2.

“I ain’t gonna sit here and lie. The other day – this dude was passed out by Union Station. He had a joint and a cigarette. I don’t know what was in that blunt, but next thing I know my blood pressure was 120/60 and I was in the hospital. Took this blunt and it put me in the motherf*cking hospital.

This is my real first time being homeless. I’ve been out here a couple weeks now. It’s messed up. My life is so glum. My life is so dull. I mean, I’m not going to sit here and stress, but I kind of have to because I can’t call my baby’s mother on the phone anymore. I can’t talk to my child anymore. I can’t even send them money. That’s messing me up. That’s really taking its toll on me right now.”

– Allen

Author’s note: We met Allen in a small park at New Jersey Ave and 1st St NW.

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