By Lauren M. Fox
Circling D.C. General, the district’s largest homeless shelter, it’s painful to imagine anyone sleeping inside. Plywood boards up the windows. Over the door, the word “hospital” looks as though it has been chipped away to disguise the building’s previous life.
Out front in the cold, mothers with small children stood huddled together outside the family shelter. They have babies on their hips and toddlers at their feet. One little boy peeked up at me from beneath his dinosaur stocking cap.
He is one of the 600 children living in this shelter, down the road from a morgue, stuck between a jail and a detox clinic. His mother, whose name I didn’t catch, looked to be around my age. Experts like to call us “millennials,” 20-somethings sorting out the world. She is one of the thousands of homeless peers most of us never consider when grumbling about dead end jobs, skyrocketing rent or lack of fulfillment.
She’s literally been pushed out of sight, in southeast, D.C., a part of town rarely visited by the roughly 12,500 young adults who move to D.C. each year.
I am one of those transplants. I landed here two years ago and lamented about sleeping in a friend’s laundry room for a week. It seemed like a real war story and I recounted it to fellow millennials at bars and dinner parties.