Eva Jackson

June 29, 2017
Julia Weegar

A Portrait of Homelessness in Chicago

Eva has been homeless on and off since 1997.

“My goals are to get an apartment. I would like my own bedroom. I want to get in touch with my family.” – Eva Jackson

Eva was raised by her grandmother on the South Side of Chicago.

She had a baby boy and was married when she was just 17 years old. At 19, she had her second son. Her husband died when her boys were very young.

Without a father, her two sons were targeted by drug dealers when they were only six and eight years old.

“They took control of my children’s lives and trained them to sell drugs,” says Eva. “I would go to check on my boys in their beds at night and they would be gone. They would sneak out of the house to sell drugs,” she says.

“Drug dealers target the fatherless and the poor. They use them because the children won’t be sent to jail,” Eva says. “I tried to stop them but the drug dealers would tell me to leave the children alone and they would help them.”

Eva’s sons moved into their own apartment at 14 and 16 years old.

“I was told not to contact them,” she said.

Soon after, Eva became very sick and ended up in and out of hospitals for years.

Although she worked as a day laborer, a security guard and for a maid service, Eva could not afford to pay rent and became homeless.

“At night, I slept between buildings, at the park and at the bus stop,” she says.

Eva found Franciscan Outreach and was able to get her basic needs met, including food, shelter, clothing and a personal mailing address.

“My case manager helped me to get my birth certificate, an ID, a social security card and to get onto the waiting list for an apartment,” says Eva

Eva wants to see her sons. She says that she knows they have families and don’t sell drugs any more.

Eva Jackson is a part of the Franciscan Outreach Mobile Gallery – A Portrait of Homelessness in Chicago

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