SHAKAYE HENRY
SHAKAYE HENRY

Shakaye Henry moved to Washington, D.C. more than three years ago. Although she became homeless not too soon after her move, she has always enjoyed the District.

Henry, who grew up in Sandusky, Ohio, is fond of her hometown and smiled when reminiscing about Cedar Point; the amusement park nearby. She also lived in Florida for a time, but still prefers D.C. to the other two.

“I really like the design of the city,” Henry said. “And—this might sound strange to some people—but I like the sidewalks. I like how the sidewalks look.”

Shakaye came to the District to protest against human trafficking, a cause which she is still very passionate about today. However, soon after coming to the District, Henry could not find adequate employment and found herself stuck on the streets. Finding a job was difficult for Henry, as she has a learning disability and physical disability that keeps her from being able to stand for long periods of time.

“It’s been hard for me to find a place to work where I can be sitting a lot,” she said.

However, probably her toughest trial in life, even more than being homeless, was losing custody of
her child.

“I was crushed,” Henry said.

Despite all of these problems , Shakaye was able to eventually find a job as a vendor at
Street Sense.

Not too long after moving to D.C. and winding up homeless, Henry talked about the newspaper with other women in a homeless shelter. Three years ago after visiting the office, she decided to become a vendor.

She said that there are a lot of reasons why she enjoys selling newspapers, but that she gets the most joy out of the relationships she has developed with her regular customers.

“They can be very entertaining,” Henry said.

She also enjoys working as a vendor for Street Sense because she does not have to be on her feet all day and can set her own hours. Henry usually works between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Alexandria near King Street. She can be found near the Court House Metro station.

Henry eventually found housing after starting as a vendor and still resides in the same apartment today. With her life looking up, she would like to find a job after Street Sense. She still has her heart set on advocacy work.

“The government is not doing enough about the problem,” Henry said. “Human trafficking can ruin a
child’s life.” Henry said she would love for her career to involve protesting against human trafficking or advocating for the disabled, but ultimately said she is looking for an office-type job where she can sit and work.