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By Jaci Jedrych

Catholic University students who have participated in a Thursday Food Run may have had the privilege of meeting Ms. Bobbie. She experienced homelessness for about nine years, spending five of these years living on K Street in NoMa, where Campus Ministry through CUA Service Club’s Homeless Food Run team met her about two years ago. 

“She rarely, if ever, took food or other items from us, but she was always willing to talk,” said Kathleen Connolly, co-leader of Thursday Food Runs. “Ms. Bobbie was also one of the kindest women we ever met. We never spoke with her about her family or where she lived previously.”

Ms. Bobbie died a few days after winter break began on December 17, 2019, in her K Street tent. She was 67 years old. The cause of her death is unknown, but life on the street is very hard on the body.

“We have always known her to be a strong and resilient woman,” said Connolly, “but living on the street will usually age a person faster.” 

Connolly and Amanda Martin, co-leader of Thursday Food Runs held a candlelight vigil on Thursday, January 16. The vigil was held at the end of K Street where her tent used to be. About 20 Catholic University students, University Chaplain Rev. Jude DeAngelo, and other members of the NoMa homeless community attended. 

The mourners shared a gospel reading about how everyone has a place in the kingdom of God, and then shared some affectionate memories of Ms. Bobbie. 

 Ms. Bobbie was very good friends with Mike, a fellow individual experiencing homelessness in the NoMa community. Mike recounted how he was never able to get past Ms. Bobbie’s tent without stopping to talk for a few minutes. 

Ms. Bobbie’s story is sadly common, unlike Ms. Bobbie herself. D.C. has a very large homeless population; according to The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness, “On any given night there are 6,521 homeless persons in the District of Columbia.”

“One of the most important things to do that can help people who are homeless is to be informed about what is happening in the city,” said Connolly. 

On January 16, 2019, a mandatory street cleaning occurred, permanently clearing K Street of its homeless encampments. As the city of D.C. tries to reduce the number of homeless tent encampments on the streets, these sorts of cleanups happen more frequently.  

“Everyone who had called K Street home,” said Connolly, “was now tasked with finding a new place to live in a matter of days.”

The new regulations are forcing the homeless population of D.C. out of their encampments without providing a new shelter for them. The Department of Human Services operates some shelters, but the growing housing crisis and homeless population tell a different story. If you would like to help people experiencing homelessness in D.C. through Thursday, Friday, or Sunday Food Runs, visit

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