(Washington, DC) During my trips to the District of Columbia, I have always been intrigued by the many homeless persons in the American capitol. Ostensibly the center of the richest nation on the planet, the city is also a mecca for the homeless.
Colleen says that she has been living on the streets in the Georgetown area for "about five years." With some street people, one never knows with any certainty that any given person is homeless, but one look at Colleen's shopping cart is enough to confirm that she is, indeed, homeless.
Articulate, somehwat shy, and looking more like a librarian than a denizen of the streets, Colleen said that she would "prefer to live somewhere else," but this is all she can afford at the moment.
"When it gets cold I can always head to a shelter," she said.
I encountered Joseph as he sat on the M Street bridge over Rock Creek near Georgetown. He had several articles of clothing drying on the cement guardrail of the bridge.
Like Colleen, Joseph was a bit reluctant to talk, and it took a minute or two for him to warm up.
"I lost my place a few years back, and I didn't have any other choices," he said, adding that he has no family in the area. "So this is home now."
For most of the year "home" to Joseph is living under the Rock Creek bridge.
I think I spend more time when I visit DC talking to the homeless than I do hitting the tourist sites, and I'm not sure what that says about me.