Alice Carter ("Baby Alice")Age 35
18 Dec 2019
Washington, D. C. (USA)
Alice was found unresponsive on the street by police officers. She was revived using CPR and rushed to hospital, but died after admission.
The cause of her death has not been reported. The police report says she was found “not breathing and unconscious and possibly under the influence of an unknown substance.”
When Alice Carter died Wednesday after collapsing on a Northwest Washington street, there was no immediate outcry.
She had slept on 17th Street north of Q Street for at least 15 years, an advocate said, a transgender woman struggling with addiction and mental-health issues. She recently secured housing through an assistance program, but it wasn’t enough to save her after a life led on the margins.
The Rev. Ben Roberts, director of social justice at Foundry United Methodist Church near Dupont Circle, where Carter worshipped, said her death showed that those who work to help the homeless “fail as often as we succeed.”
“When we lose Alice, we lose one of our very vocal connections to suffering in the community,” he said. “She’s just one more missing voice.”
Carter, 35, was one of at least 117 homeless people to die in the District so far this year, according to city records. Advocates for the homeless said their numbers showed deaths this year reached a five-year high.
Organizations that support the homeless joined Thursday for an annual vigil, followed by a downtown march through evening traffic while carrying an empty coffin. They urged city leaders to increase spending on affordable housing and warned of the Trump administration’s “dehumanizing” rhetoric on homelessness.
Alice had been homeless for at least 15 years and was well known in the area. She had originally become homeless as a result of coming out as trans.
Known for years as Baby Alice, Carter’s friendly and cheerful disposition despite her struggle with homelessness and substance abuse made her a popular figure on 17th Street among those who lived there and those who visited or worked at the restaurants and bars, including two gay bars and the gay-friendly Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse, that line the bustling street.
“Last night the gay heavens welcomed another angel,” said gay bartender Dito Sevilla who lives and works on 17th Street, in a posting on Facebook. “17th Street’s longtime resident singing, dancing, rapping, demi-monde, known for years as ‘baby’ Alice didn’t make it,” Sevilla wrote.
“A more harmless and innocent soul has never shared our streets; she’ll be missed terribly,” Sevilla wrote in his post. “Alice loved wearing pink, composing poetry and of course McDonald’s strawberry milkshakes.”
Sevilla said he and many others who live and work in the neighborhood helped Carter by giving her money. Those who knew her said she often held out a cup asking for help.
David Perruzza, former general manager of the 17th Street gay bar JR’s and current owner of the 18th Street gay bars Pitchers and League of Her Own in Adams Morgan, said Alice Carter also hung out on 18th Street outside the McDonald’s in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.
“A lot of you knew her as the transgender homeless girl on 17th and 18th streets,” Perruzza said in his own Facebook post. “Not many know that she was kicked out of her house cause she was transgender,” he said. “Be kind to people. Everyone has a story. People just don’t become homeless,” Perruzza wrote. “Consider donating to an LGBTQ+ homeless shelter in her memory.”
Ruby Corado, founder and executive director of the D.C. LGBT community services center Casa Ruby, said Carter was an occasional client of Casa Ruby. Corado said Carter had an addiction problem and mental health issues that Corado and others tried to persuade her to take steps to address.
“She was a loving, beautiful soul,” said Corado. “I don’t know too much about her. All I know is when we did outreach I would bring her in and she would take showers, eat, she got clothes, and then eventually she would go back out,” Corado said.