Observing a break in traffic, the gray-haired man hustles across Northwest Washington, D.C.'s Whitehurst Freeway. This man, with his black sport coat and a backpack slung over one shoulder, is now under the freeway's overpass, squeezing his head between a space that reveals someone's elaborate makeshift home. Tarps of different colors cover the rocky ground and suitcases line the walls. A clock, mirror, and Aloe Vera lotion sit on top of one suitcase. On the other side, hundreds of cans and bottles sit unattended.
“Cliff? Melanie? You there?” He calls into the void, but no one answers. He plans to come back tomorrow to check on the homeless couple, but for now, he must move on. There are others to see.
Venturing under highway overpasses, in shelters, and on the streets, Dr. Anthony Martinez searches for homeless people who might need medical attention. Although medical care is available in the nation's capital, many of D.C.'s homeless refuse to go to free clinics and roving medical vans. According to Dr. Martinez, “They just don't trust many doctors. You have to go to them. If you don't go to them, they won't come to you."