Life Lessons: Jackie Dowd: Superhero attorney for the homeless
Apr 28, 2016
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Dowd is a former assistant attorney general for the state of Florida. She could be making half-a-million dollars working at a private firm, “Jackie is one of the most passionate, caring people that I know,” said Danielle Landaal, Program Coordinator at IDignity in Orlando. But instead, she’s using her expertise to help the homeless. Jackie Dowd, Attorney at IDignity in Orlando says, “I started thinking about the people whose voices just really are not heard in the justice system. Most of them are just blown away grateful, can’t believe we solved the problem.”
Once a month, hundreds of people line up outside where Dowd works with the non-profit organization IDignity. She helps people get new ID cards and replace documents like birth certificates and social security cards, all for free. Dowd explained, “It can easily cost over a hundred dollars to get id by the time you round up the documents that you need.”
And without these documents, many people can’t get jobs, keeping them mired in an endless cycle of poverty. Taylor says, “It impacts people really at the core of their existence, there’s absolutely nothing they can do until they get their identification.”
A tiny piece of paper and a woman with a huge heart making a difference. In the past seven years, IDignity has represented more than 15,000 clients and boasts a 95 percent success rate. Every third Thursday of the month, Jackie and her team of volunteers which include retired lawyers and judges help more than 250 people get back on their feet with legal documentation.