An aerial view of Washington D.C

The District of Columbia was a beautiful city. I came to Washington as a child to visit my family. It felt small but vibrant, or at least smaller than New York City. It made me want to return.  

 I moved to D.C. in the spring of 1971, when buses cost $0.40. I stayed at the F St. YMCA until I could get on my feet. They charged me $3 a day until I rented my first room for $65 a month.  

Today, a room costs over $700. That’s the cost of the beautiful city they try to sell to us. More cranes go up all the time to make it so. But at what cost? So many people are without a home, living in shelters or on the street in our beautiful city. With prices so steep, of course the rate of homelessness is high. How beautiful is it, really? 

Ayub Abdul is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media.