A couple summers ago, I had a brief encounter with a young woman at a security checkpoint at Prologue, an alternative school in Chicago’s Near Northwest Side, that has nagged at me ever since. She looked like a typical teenager on her way to class. She had a baby face framed by braids that were tied up in a knot. Her backpack was slung over shoulder as she rushed through the metal detector.
Abraham House-El’s day doesn’t always end when he leaves the office. Not when he has empty beds to fill. He gases up his van and makes a tour of the local homeless shelters, looking for the one type of person who he thinks should never have to be there: veterans.