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DC photo blog puts a face on homelessness

 Street Sense - USA 23 March 2019

Person First Project is a photo blog putting a name and a face to the homeless people of Washington DC by sharing their stories and experiences online through photos and first-person interviews. StreetWise speaks to the people behind the Facebook and Instagram project about how they are challenging common misconceptions about homelessness and their aim to break down the barriers between people experiencing homelessness and those who pass by them every day. (812 Words) - By Jennifer Ortiz

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Charles - "I don’t like to say this, but I panhandle. And I don’t like that word – it has negative connotations. I like to say that I’m soliciting people for spare change."Credit: Person First Project

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Robert - "It saddens my heart too to see people passed by in the street. People won't even acknowledge a homeless individual or a homeless veteran - or even a veteran seeking assistance. We were good enough to fight for the freedom and security that they are now afforded, but not good enough to be acknowledged, not good enough to be assisted. They don't need a hand out, but a hand up."Credit: Person First Project

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Candi - "I was homeless for seven years. Many people won’t say that homelessness was a good thing, but I’ll say I got the best out of it by a total reinvention of Candi. I just could not let it be for nothing.”Credit: Person First Project

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Elijah - “If I could give some strength and hope to someone who might be currently dealing with this type of situation, it's that sometimes in life we come across things, environments, people that deviate our original plan. If I can tell anyone anything - saving money, getting the higher power, staying drug-free - those are all things that are important and those are all the things I am currently working on to better myself.”Credit: Person First Project

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Lisa - “I get interesting looks from people that don’t know me, which you learn to brush off after a while. I’m sure they wonder if I’m a drug addict or something. So many people have stopped, but a lot have never stopped and are probably wondering why I’m here."Credit: Person First Project

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Garcia - “My daughter’s in the U.S. military. She found out about me sleeping on the streets now and she’s very upset about it. She said when she gets back she’s going to come and get me whether I want to go or not. I don’t want to go to Georgia. I meet a lot of good people here, a lot of goodhearted people. D.C.’s my home."Credit: Person First Project

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Sarge - "People look down upon me like I’m a disease or something, but I’m not a disease – I’m a good guy. And they say I don’t look homeless. I am! Having housing would lay my mind to rest – I wouldn’t have to beg anyone to feed me. I’m too old for these streets and I’m tired of being here, I’m sick of it. I sometimes want God to come and take me home. I don’t want to be here anymore. I’m not suicidal - I’m a person just tired.”Credit: Person First Project

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Person First Project co-founders Julie Schwartz, Robyn Russell and Shiza Farid. Credit: Jennifer Ortiz

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Conducting an interview for the blog.Credit: Jennifer Ortiz


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