A House for Healing

A House for Healing

Leshelle Hicks thought she was moving into Joseph's House to die. Instead, the AIDS patient learned how to live. (WP)

Joseph’s House in Washington, D.C., offers homeless people who are dying of end-stage AIDS or cancer a shelter, but also a place to belong, where they feel welcome. In some cases, such as that of Leshelle Hicks, whose living situation was too chaotic to permit her to manage her own care, clients are given the skills to make changes in their lives and return home — but many die.

This touching video is part of a Washington Post investigation that found that some HIV/AIDS agencies in the District mismanaged government-awarded funds and engaged in questionable activities.

However many agencies, such as Joesph’s House, are spending the money as they should. Leshelle Hicks, who has multiple life-threatening ailments, was taught how to take care of herself, including learning to take her medications, and credits the facility with saving her life.

Although Hicks is one of the success stories, her roommate and new best friend died. Part of the program is designed to heal people psychologically as well as physically, and an emotional farewell service for the deceased woman conducted by the residents was a sweet example of how close these people can become in their time of need.

CHANNEL: Washington Post

Length: 6:23

Video, editing and reporting by Whitney Shefte
Photography by Jahi Chikwendiu
Reporting and narration by Debbie Cenziper


• Ghost Employees and Inadequate Care
• A Long Wait for Housing
• Sick, But Fighting for Others