Accident

Blind man denied services at non-profit organization’s shelter finds welcoming home in Beaumont

James Jacks is homeless and newly blind. He said he was looking for a place to stay but was turned away.

BEAUMONT, Texas — A man who is blind claims he was denied services when he tried to get help from the Salvation Army.

He said after one night in the non-profit organization’s shelter, he was asked to leave.

James Jacks is the man at the center of this story. He’s homeless and newly blind. He said he was just looking for a place to stay but was turned away.

“I might be blind, but that’s not gonna stop me from living and everyday life,” Jacks said.

Jacks was in a car accident in May 2020. He suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him blind after shards of glass cut his eyes.

Jacks is also homeless and with no one to turn to, he went to the Salvation Army for help. But there was just one problem.

“I get told by the captain the next morning, well actually, that night, actually, that I could no longer stay because I’m blind,” Jacks said.

Captain Jason Moore with the Salvation Army said Jacks needed help getting to and from the bathroom.

“We just don’t have the staff to accommodate someone that has, you know, more special needs, but we will try to make sure that the person that has a disability, that we give them as much of what we can give them,” Moore said.

Jeanetta Price with the National Federation of the Blind found out about Jacks story. She said it was unacceptable for him to be kicked out and went hunting to find Jacks a home.

“Our community with disabilities, they leave this area because it’s known not to be disability-friendly, but God placed on my heart to stay home and serve in our population,” Price said.

Helping the blind is a mission close to Price’s heart. She has dealt with her own vision issues, and on Friday, she found Jacks a place to live.

The owner of a sober living home was happy to step up and help.

“We’re qualified in helping, just doesn’t matter if you’re blind. Recovery doesn’t discriminate on your abilities. So, if you’re here to recover I’m here to help,” said sober living homeowner Kia Washington.

Jacks said he’s happy at his new home, but he’s disappointed that the Salvation Army wasn’t a little more patient.

“Just do what you’re there to help out with. You’re there to help people get back on their feet, not sit there and discriminate against someone’s disability,” Jacks said.

The Salvation Army spoke with a caseworker and they now have proper accommodations for Jacks if he were to come back to the shelter.

Right now, he plans to continue staying at the sober living home and soon go to the school for the blind in Austin.

Written by Dominique Leh, KBMT (12NewsNow)

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