From Tragedy to Resilience

After a car backed into her while she was working as a security guard on a college campus, Jacqueline T. was injured and unable to work. A single mother of two teenagers, she found herself in an unimaginable situation: homeless.

“I had to give up everything,” she said.

Jacqueline found another job, but it was challenging to make ends meet and afford a place to stay. She ended up staying in shelters and other temporary living situations. She says it’s an unfortunate misperception that people who are homeless don’t work.

“Everyone that’s homeless is not unemployed,” she said. “I was actually working during the course of my time at the Salvation Army.”

After turning 18, Jacqueline’s daughter began staying with a friend’s parents, and Jacqueline continued looking for something permanent for her and her son. She did what she could to keep people from finding out that they were homeless.

“I’ve done my share of using the bathroom facilities in the library to wash up. When I ended up finding another job, I brought my son and he would shower there, and he would sleep on the floor there. No one knew it. The school didn’t know. People really didn’t know.”

After nearly two years without a home, Jacqueline got help with CaringWorks and she and her son moved into an apartment of their own. Among housing and other services, CaringWorks also connected Jacqueline with The Furniture Bank where she picked out furniture for her new apartment.

“My son was so excited about having his own room again; having our own place. No more strangers.”

Jacqueline’s son eventually went off to college, and her daughter married and had a son. Then in 2019, tragedy struck.

Jacqueline’s son was home from college and was visiting his sister at her house. In a senseless crime that left so many unanswered questions, his sister’s husband killed him and his sister, and was also fatally wounded in the altercation. At the time, Jacqueline was babysitting her grandson at her apartment. He was just two years old.

In the aftermath of her inconceivable loss, Jacqueline says the team at CaringWorks helped her cope through the trauma as she prepared for an upcoming custody battle with her son-in-law’s family. In addition to providing emotional support, CaringWorks staff also helped equip her with what she needed in her apartment to care for a toddler.

Jacqueline and her grandson.

“It meant so much to me to have somewhere for him to be with me. During the course of the court hearings and all that stuff that I had to go through, housing was a big factor.”

After a trying custody battle spanning five years, Jacqueline was recently granted full custody of her grandson, who is now seven years old. She can never forget the tragedy that took her children, but Jacqueline remains focused on her and her grandson’s future.

“I’m looking forward to raising my grandson; just making sure he’s ok. That’s my whole motivation right now; that I never fall into homelessness again. I’m trying to do the best I can to avoid that from ever happening again.”

While caring for her grandson, working full time, and continuing to heal from the trauma she has experienced, Jacqueline says it’s comforting to have CaringWorks in her corner.

“I still have a long way to go,” she said. “But I feel good that CaringWorks is there for me.”


Help more people break the cycle of homelessness.


About CaringWorks:

Built on the single idea that all people—no matter their social or economic standing—should have a chance to improve their quality of life, CaringWorks has served thousands of clients throughout our 20-plus-year history. Since our inception, we have grown exponentially to become one of Georgia’s leaders in providing permanent supportive housing. We serve hundreds of individuals each year through unique programs and services that are specifically tailored to the needs of those facing chronic homelessness.

Donate today to help us end homelessness.

May 2024