Saturday, August 8, 2009

Eva's still out there

Living on the street more than 30 years now, Eva Washington hates the word homeless and I have learned to use her preferred word "casual" instead. She has also taught me not to ask her how she is, it is a meaningless greeting to her. It's summer now but I dread the coming of another fall and winter, for her. She claims that she can make it fine. But I still cannot believe that. The system has no place for her and she has no place for the system which has turned away from her most basic needs. Any decision which is not hers is greeted with fury and so I often remain silent these days.

I have decided to catalogue her dozens of outfits, maybe 50 plus in all which each include a unique hair treatment. The outfits are housed in a storage unit which costs her exactly half of her social security check. She did the right things in life and always earned her way until she began to age and inflation, the cost of living began to skew heavily against her. Eva cannot seem to grasp that her labor hasn't earned enough for her to live and rages against the "rent equation" as she calls it. She describes this outfit as "the zebra." We met at Seattle Center last night and this was photographed in the square above Fisher Pavilion.

If anyone reading this post has a meaningful idea to help this 77-year-old woman find a place to live, please don't hesitate to contact me. After photographing Eva for almost a year, I have to admit that I am beginning to despair. Every suggestion is met with resistance either by her or the social workers I have talked with. Somehow I hope to find an answer which I know must go beyond merely a financial solution. It is not only funding she needs but compassion and understanding. Last night she told me she is thinking about the possibility of adding to her income by modeling for local art schools. I know she would be great at it.


David Guilbault said...

The Nation: "Ten Things You Need to Know to Live on the Streets" - .

Amanda said...

luvly pictures!