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Photo Essays

As Joe Calzada met with his father in the dad’s tow truck parked in front of Covenant House on the son’s 21st birthday, Joe’s wife, Jennifer wrote this on the sidewalk with an acorn.
With mothers and their children in the background at this park in Houston Joe Calzada kisses his wife Jennifer near Montrose and West Gray tuesday Sept. 21, 1999. Unusual for street people, Joe and Jennifer got married. They were still practically newlyweds when this photo was taken in a Montrose park.
Calzada in an unelectrified flophouse.
Breaking out of the unelectrified flophouse.
The Calzadas share everything, including cigarettes.
A month’s worth of protease inhibitors, a complicated treatment for H.I.V.

Lazy morning in bed.

Preparing shots of crystal methamphetamine.
Licking the crystal meth injection site.
” … only way you’re leavin’ me IS IN A BOX! “
Blocking the door, post fight.
After a particularly severe beating by Joe, Jennifer waits to see a internal specialist. Downtown Houston is seen in the background.
The Calzadas watch television in the Houston motel room their friends allow them to share.
Jennifer smokes marijuana in a friend’s motel room.
“Crystal” Jennifer’s friend, who sometimes works as a stripper part time, tells her she has to go to the strip club to get the previous night’s wages. When some homeless people have enough to rent motel rooms they often invite friends who are further down on their luck to stay with them, and when the situation is reversed, the favor is returned.
Calzada says she would live to be a veterenary assistant, if she had a home. Her mother says she will pay for the schooling, if she would only leave her husband, all is would take is a telephone call to the mother.
On his 21st birthday, Calzada reacts to his first legal shot of liquor.
Calzada reacts to this marijuana “charge” her spouse shares with their friend “Lucky” knowing all the time, her husband , who’s holding a bottle of beer in his lap, gets more violent when high , or drunk, or both.
Calzada says she keeps this vial of her husband’s H.I.V. positive blood in her purse so she “always has a piece of him with me.”
Afflicted with a number of sexually transmitted diseases and an ulcer, Jennifer waits, alone for her pregnancy test to be handled, in a medical exam room during a free health care session at Covenant House.
During a routine visit to a Houston medical clinic that specializes in giving free care to indigent H.I.V. and A.I.D.S. victims, Calzada has the finger he cut breaking a beer bottle while he was drunk, examined.
Calzada checks a free prescription that is part of her spouse’s H.I.V. treatment.
Calzada is furios at her spouse for being late for this appointment where she will get the result of her latest H.I.V. test.
Calzada, with the fingers on his left hand crossed, swears on his Bible he’ll never be late for an important appointment again.
Riding the bus with friends to pickup a paycheck.
After fighting with her husband, Calzada cries, apart from their group, as they wait for the bus.
The Calzadas scrutinize every slowly passing car near Houston’s branch of Covenant House, a national network that aids homeless young people, for drivers who might want to buy drugs or prostitutes.
Joe and Jennifer, after a night spent on the street, fall asleep in the cafeteria, with their free lunch in front of them at Covenant House, Houston. A poor diet, illegal drug use, the effects of HIV medication and life on the streets are particularly hard on the husband.
Horseplay.
The Calzadas choose the darkest part of this alley so Joe can give his wife a shot of crystal meth.
Admission day to “Project Liferoads” a Houston organization that provides homeless, H.I.V. positive people with free housing, food, counseling, job preparation and life skills development.
Checking the furniture arrangement in the free 2 bedroom apartment “Project Life Roads” assigned the couple.
With smoking prohibited inside the apartment by ” Project Liferoads ” Calzada has a cigarette near the door, but out of sight of her G.E.D. instructor who might be walking to today’s session, as the couple skipped the latest session, as they’d both aced the practice exam in the earlier session.
Food stamps paperwork.
Calzada shares a laugh with a fellow “Liferoads” client on this trip to get free food.
Counseling session at “Liferoads.”
During the first physical separation since they were married, Calzada looks toward the spot where she met her spouse the first time.
A timed exercise in the GED prep course.
Graduation day.
G.E.D. received.