Lance hasn't seen his three kids in 18 months. He has been on 19th & Pennsylvania, NW for 15 months. Everybody who has been to Foggy Bottom area knows Lance. He is a permanent fixture of the area, and when I tell him that he must have been here longer than 15 months, he says, "Everyone says that! Everyone says I've been here forever, but no, just 15 months." He felt his whole life that he should be a minister, but he joined the Navy, and worked as a chef. After losing custody of his children, he felt God say that he should stay on this street corner, between the World Bank and the IMF, a block from George Washington University, and two blocks from the White House. He has only left the corner when forcibly removed by the Metropolitan Police during blizzards and storms.
To every person walking by, he says, "God bless you, thank goodness its Friday, you have a blessed day weekend!" He reminds couples that they should remember Valentines day coming up, to enjoy the weekend, and that God loves them. He is always playing WGTS 91.9, the Christian radio station, and he is surrounded by supplies for the homeless: water, food, hygiene products and clothes for women, toilet paper, gloves and hats. I told him that I've met several homeless women who desperately needed sanitary pads and clothes around the city, and he agrees that the need is great. Many cannot get access to bathrooms when they need it, and he hands out rolls and rolls of toilet paper to help out. Many people around the city donate supplies so that he can help others experiencing homelessness.
Lance has contributed to District Displaced, a project giving instant cameras to people experiencing homelessness, and encouraging them to share their story through photography. He tells those walking by to remember the homeless; that they are on the street whether its cold or hot. To see his photos, check out: http://www.districtdisplaced.com/lance