By John Kelly, columnist
The Washington Post
November 30, 2015
The question Joseph Marshall asked himself was: Could he get his self-respect back and reverse the chain of events that had forced his young family into the shelter at D.C. General?
Joseph, 27, and his fiancee, Tiana, had been keeping it together — barely. His life had not been easy. He was raised in Southeast Washington by a single mother. When he was a teenager, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
“It basically kind of ate her up,” Joseph told me recently. “She just got smaller and smaller.”
She died when Joseph was 16. His siblings — two brothers and three sisters — scattered. Joseph wound up on his own, doing, as he calls it, “the street thing.” His life improved when he met Tiana and they started a family.
“Once we had the baby, it made me stop doing the things I was doing,” he said.
They moved to an apartment in Woodbridge, Va. They had another son. Joseph worked at a Home Depot and then managed a McDonald’s. Tiana worked at a furniture store. Public transportation is spotty in the suburbs. A 2003 Hyundai made getting to work possible. Then it died. They didn’t have the money to replace it.
“It went downhill from there,” Joseph said. The couple lost their jobs. They fell behind on their rent and went home one day to find their possessions piled outside. After their eviction, they moved in with different relatives — separately.
Story continued in The Washington Post.