Deshanna and Davida

Deshanna (left) and Davida (right)

Deshanna (left) and Davida (right)

This is part of an ongoing project called “People In Your Neighborhood

Deshanna (left) and Davida (right) were sisters who were waiting for their husbands when we met. Davida’s been on the streets for three and a half years, since she was eighteen, and just came into contact with her sister a few months ago.  Their parents were alcoholics; they never married and haven’t seen each other for over 22 years. The sisters don’t know much about their parents’ backgrounds, since they never talked with them much. Davida knew that their mother was born in Vietnam. Their father was abusive. The sisters haven’t been in contact with their extended family much, but when they were young, their great-grandmother died from lung cancer, their Aunt Mac died from kidney cancer, and their uncle was hospitalized for a long time for kidney stones.

Davida is looking for a job, but it’s hard. It’s hard to be on the streets, with no home, no food, no clothes, and two little kids to take care of. She wants to get back on her feet, but she doesn’t know where to start. Especially with the condos and luxury apartments being built all over DC, she’s afraid that all the people working for the government are going to shoo her out of DC. Despite the fact that she’s homeless, D.C. is nonetheless her home.

“The newborns, the kids, the teenagers out here didn’t ask for it,” Davida says. “It’s not their fault that they’re out here, it’s not that they’re lazy.” They just don’t know any other way of life, and it’s an endless cycle that you can’t break out of. She says this with sadness in her eyes. I know she’s talking about her own kids.