DC Metropolitan Police Officer Natalie Charles stopped her squad car when she noticed the woman lying on the sidewalk had her legs bent at an unusual angle. With Officer Charles’ assistance, the woman was able to stand up normally and asked for mac and cheese and a hot coffee from a nearby store. Once the woman had food to eat, Officer Charles left the woman and continued her wellness checks on the nearly one hundred unhoused individuals living in PSAs 201-209 her large catchment area.
Officer Charles was born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and lived there until she graduated from high school. With her mother’s encouragement to go find herself, she left the small Caribbean island country to live with her beloved aunt in Queens, New York. She loved living in Queens and spent a decade taking portrait photographs as a studio photographer. She also managed a liquor store and enjoyed what the city had to offer to her. When her family decided to sell her Aunt’s home, Officer Charles knew she needed to make it on her own. She thought about returning to St. Vincent but was persuaded by friends to join them in Maryland before she returned home forever.
Her very first glimpse of Washington, DC was when she exited the Gallery Place Metro Station. The area reminded her of her beloved New York City, although a much smaller version. It was then she decided that DC might be the city for her but wanted to live closer to her friends in Maryland. She discovered an initiative of Maryland that will financially assist residents with their higher education. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mental Health with a minor in psychology. From there she obtained a Masters of Forensic Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University. While studying, Officer Charles also worked at Regal Movie Theater in Chinatown where she was encouraged by several Police Officers to become one herself.
For six years, Officer Charles has been an Officer for the DC Metropolitan Police Department on patrol. In August 2022, she was very excited to see a vacancy announcement in the Crisis Intervention Office conducting Homeless Outreach. She loves her job and the people she encounters but hates that she is unable to provide all of the assistance they desperately need. She works with various DC social service agencies to try to connect unhoused residents with resources and services. She frequently purchases food or socks for the people she meets despite not having a budget to do this. Officer Charles believes that as long as she can pay her bills, there are other people who need her money more than she does. Cleveland Park Main Street reached out for help from Officer Charles and the Crisis Response Team when two unhoused men began living on a public bench as the temperature was forecast to plummet. One of the men was safely taken into shelter, the other chose to remain outside. Officer Charles understands that her wellness checks are not solving homelessness but they are providing care and comfort across the Second District.
People who are unhoused are greatly in need of items such as socks, granola bars, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and deodorant. If you would like to donate, please contact Kyi Branch email@example.com or Officer Natalie Charles firstname.lastname@example.org