From Riches to Rags: New Orleans woman shares her experience becoming homeless

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Jackie Hood, a Louisiana native had it all. She went to LSU and Mt. Carmel Academy, she even ran her own business for awhile, but struggled with alcoholism. After her divorce, it all came undone, and she lost it all.

“It was a perfect storm. I lost my business. My divorce went through. I lost my children, my house. I lost everything.” Jackie now wants to put being homeless into perspective.

Jackie says most people are a paycheck away from being homeless and the people she has met since being on the streets “don’t look homeless.”

“People had lives before they became homeless. Everybody who’s homeless had a house,” she said.

Jackie has been homeless since June and says some nights she slept under a bridge and lived in fear. But she isn’t sitting back and waiting for someone to help her. Jackie says she’s working to get her life back.

She made decisions in her past that may have led her to where she is now, but she says after becoming homeless she won’t stand for it anymore. Her plan once she recovers is to raise awareness. She wants the focus to be on giving jobs — not just food and money. And her biggest pet peeve is that giving only comes during the holiday season.

Jackie and her fiance, who is homeless with her, are grateful for the help they have received and have been staying with strangers as of late. She works hard to not appear homeless because according to her, that’s her only hope for moving forward.

“Hire that homeless person, give them a job, let them get their address, don’t let them rely on social services all the time, I don’t want to rely on social services. I want to do this myself,” said Jackie, whose two daughters now live with their father.

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