File photo of a sign held by a participant in a May 9 protest led by families in the rapid rehousing program and community advocates.
Reginald Black

I have now exceeded my six month stay in the D.C. government’s rapid-rehousing program, an initiative that connects homeless people with housing and provides short-term assistance.  

I completed another certification through Workforce Development Lifelong Learning at the University of the District of Columbia. This is another process that builds my marketability. Since the completion of this certification I was able to gain another day at work, which is great for me to pay bills. My case worker sees that I have the potential to become independent, but I still need a little more assistance.  

Now I am waiting to hear from the D.C. Department of Human Services to see if they would still help me on a monthly basis.  

The outcome is still blurry. I have to be able to hold employment for a year, which is a short-term goal for me. I have to be able to be pay rent. 

We as homeless individuals should be thought of as more than individuals who have their hands out, always in need. When given the chance, we can show a better way, show the brightness within us. When you encounter us, give us an honest judgement using your analytical thinking. See the difficulties that we all face, physically, emotionally, and socially.  

 We are as strong as the barriers that we are faced with. We have to stay focused and keep our path and find the way that will be better for us. 


This is the second installment of a column I am writing to show what opportunities exist for people experiencing homelessness and answer what questions you might have about the challenges I have faced, homeless, employed and enrolled in higher education in our nation’s capital.Open dialogue and understanding is the foundation of a healthy community. Send questions to [email protected]