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David Pirtle

David was a restaurant manager in Phoenix, Arizona when he was afflicted with schizoaffective disorder, a sub-category of schizophrenia.  As a result of his symptoms he was unable to maintain a job or a place to live.  Shortly after becoming homeless he left Arizona and traveled across the country, mostly by hitchhiking and freight hopping, and eventually arriving in New York City, where he lived in an abandoned building for six months before heading south to Washington, DC. David lived on the streets in Washington for over a year, mainly shoplifting to survive, until he was arrested and eventually placed into mental health treatment.  He was also referred to a homeless shelter, where he lived for another eight months. 

In the summer of 2006 David and the other clients learned that their shelter was slated to be closed and converted into a boutique hotel.  The residents of the shelter organized, and after lobbying local politicians and holding a series of rallies, it was announced that the shelter would remain open in perpetuity and that the facility would be renovated. David has since left the shelter and now resides in city-subsidized housing in south-east Washington, and he is active in fighting for the rights of people who are experiencing homelessness and mental illness in the District of Columbia.

ALSO! Hear David's interview with Dick Gordon on NPR. CLICK HERE!

National Coalition for the Homeless
2201 P Street NW
Washington, DC 20037-1033

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Page last modified: Oct. 11, 2011

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