Photographed by Anika Rice, age 18
David Pirtle was homeless for 2 ½ years. He grew up in Southern Illinois and had a normal childhood. Since he was sixteen years old, David has had various jobs and has moved around a lot. He has spent time in Phoenix, near the Grand Canyon, in Las Vegas, in Manhattan, and in D.C. David was diagnosed with schizophrenia and at age twenty-nine. Because of his illness, he was no longer able to keep a job, and he ended up homeless. On the streets, he experienced harsh conditions and violently cruel treatment, but he maintains a positive attitude. He has since been taking medications and is glad that the new health care bill was passed. Because of the possibility of a relapse, it is difficult for David to go back to school or to have a job. But he serves on the Board of Directors for the National Coalition for the Homeless, and is very active with the group.
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