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Joe Biden Stopped to Chat With a Homeless Man in DC — Here’s Why It Was Important

A photo of former US Vice President Joe Biden speaking with a homeless man outside of a Washington DC, movie theater went viral this past weekend, with more than 100,000 shares and 175,000 likes, after an onlooker posted the image on Facebook.

Commenters online praised Biden, who many believe is gearing up for a presidential campaign in 2020, for his kindness. 

“Character is about what you do when no one is watching,” Paul Equale, who posted the image Thursday night, wrote. 

“Say what you want about Joe Biden. He’s nothing if not compassionate and kind. His life - through tragedy and triumph - is an example of grace,” read one Facebook comment. 

Take Action: Help Spread Love Over Bias

According to Caleb Baca, who took the picture, Biden appeared to write something down on a piece of paper inside the movie theater where he was seeing a film with his granddaughters, before handing the paper to the homeless man outside.

Biden’s act of kindness seems especially noteworthy because of where it occurred. 

Washington, DC, according to a 2016 study, had the highest homeless rate of 32 major US cities, with just under 125 homeless people for every 10,000 residents. The study also found that homelessness increased by more than one-third between 2009 and 2016 in DC.

This was due in large part to rising housing costs and the lack of affordable housing for low-income individuals, the Washington Post reports

Homeless man in San FranciscoImage: Flickr / Franck Michel

Read More: How 249 Photos Are Empowering LA's Homeless

Overall, however, homelessness in the United States decreased between 2010 and 2016, which coincided with the start of the Obama administration’s Opening Doors program aimed at decreasing homelessness, according to CityLab

Unfortunately, 2017 saw a reversal of that trend, with the number of people experiencing homeless increasing for the first time in seven years

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which includes goal number one: no poverty. For the more than half a million people across the United States who are currently experiencing homelessness, achieving stable housing is tantamount to living a life free from extreme poverty. You can join us and take action here.