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Alan Banks

Born and raised in the Washington, DC area, Alan married and pursued careers in the United States Air Force and in law enforcement. In 1993, Alan joined the Smithsonian police force as a supervisor and firearms trainer.  Shortly thereafter, Alan’s father passed away. The effect of this loss triggered a devastating downward spiral in Alan’s life.  For the following years he struggled with depression, which led to a collapse of his personal and professional life. In 2004, he found himself homeless after a divorce and the loss of his job.

The first year that Alan experienced homelessness, he slept primarily on the street, but eventually he was pointed toward the Gospel Rescue Mission in downtown DC, where he stored his things and got back on his feet. He was able to rent an apartment, but his options were limited with the high cost of housing in Washington. The neighborhood he moved into was rife with violence, of which Alan himself was a victim. After this, he was unable to continue working, and in May of 2008, he again found himself homeless.  However, Alan’s previous experience had taught him where he could go to find the resources he needed to survive. 

Today he resides in his own apartment and is busy working to find employment through a program that helps to place veterans back into the work force.  Eventually he hopes to re-enter the fields of law enforcement and instruction, but his most important personal goal is to reconnect with his children. The one idea he wants to pass on to young people through the Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau is that “Homelessness doesn’t have a set face.  Sometimes homelessness just happens.”

National Coalition for the Homeless
2201 P Street NW
Washington, DC 20037-1033
202-462-4822
info@nationalhomeless.org

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