Jackie is one amazing woman. She has a story that makes you want to jump for joy and cry at the same time. Jackie is homeless in Washington DC. In fact, this interview was recorded just a few blocks away from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW.
Jackie has lived in the streets for over a decade, but she retains a positive glow and energy about her. Speaking with Jackie, you cannot help but smile with her. You almost forget she is sleeping outside!
I saw Jackie from a distance. All of her belongings were scattered all over the sidewalk, and she was busy doing something. As I walked closer, it was hard to see what she was doing. I didn’t even think she would speak to me.
Jackie came to Washington DC because of the growing criminalization of homeless people in her hometown. She says, homeless people in Columbia, South Carolina were given a choice to either go into the shelter, leave town, work in FEMA camps or get arrested and go to jail. I just did a search on Google and found several news stories that confirm Jackie’s story.
Jackie doesn’t believe she’ll ever be able to afford an apartment, so she is making a home of her own! She also doesn’t believe anyone is going to ever help her out of homelessness. Jackie is making the best of a bad situation. With the housing crisis getting worse, all she wants is a little land where she can build four walls and a roof!
As amazing as Jackie’s strength is, I am heartbroken that anyone has to make choices like this to live without adequate housing. It’s upsetting that she has grown so used to her own homelessness. We must take tangible actions to create more affordable housing and to get people like Jackie off the streets into a real home!