United States Department of Veterans Affairs

VA Maryland Health Care System

VA Offers New Direction for Homeless Veteran


Jimmie Thompson, U.S.Army Veteran, gives back to his fellow Veterans in the Domciliary Care Program at the Perry Point VA Medical Center by sharing his path to recovery from drug addiction.Jimmie Thompson, a U.S. Army Veteran, knows all too well what it's like to hit rock bottom with nowhere to go.

While growing up in Fort Pierce, Florida, Thompson experimented with illegal drugs that catapulted him to a life-long battle with addiction. Thompson joined the U.S. Army at the age of 18 at the urging of his family, who hoped military life would keep him out of trouble.

Following an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, Thompson again became drug dependent and spent time in and out of jail. Spending years as a migrant worker, Thompson eventually relocated to Delaware’s Eastern Shore in 2003. "It was here that I remember walking down the highway with only five dollars in my pocket, hungry, cold, and suddenly realizing that I was an addict who needed help,” Thompson said. During this time, a local Veteran told Thompson about the Perry Point VA Medical Center’s Domiciliary Care Program.

Designed to help struggling Veterans develop into productive citizens, “The VA Maryland Health Care System’s residential continuum of care provides homeless veterans with treatment, stability and support to successfully reintegrate into the community,” said Patricia Lane, acting clinical manager of Residential Programs for the VA Maryland Health Care System.

"While under the influence of drugs, I felt superior to others, but my behavior was inferior,” said Thompson. "I was angry and blamed others for my lot in life, but the VA Domiciliary staff helped me resolve many of my personal issues, ranging from health care to anger management and housing issues.”

Thompson now resides in Harford County and has been drug free for seven years. He takes every opportunity to share his success story and often attends meetings with fellow Veterans in the VA Domiciliary Care Program at the Perry Point VA Medical Center to let them know that it is never too late for their lives to take new direction.


Services Offered to Homeless Veterans

The VA Maryland Health Care System’s Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program is the gateway for homeless Veterans to begin the recovery process. HCHV outreach workers are clinically trained mental health providers who interview Veterans to determine what assistance and interventions are most appropriate to meet the Veteran’s unique needs. Outreach workers facilitate referrals for physical and mental health evaluations and/or to programs that are the most appropriate for eligible Veterans, such as:

• Inpatient hospitalization
• Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Program (Domiciliary)
• Veterans Justice Outreach and Incarcerated Veterans Re-Entry Program
• Grant and Per Diem transitional housing
• HUD-VASH permanent supportive housing
• Compensated Work Therapy
• Community resources

HCHV outreach workers also serve as case managers for homeless Veterans until they are involved with another program or obtain housing. Non-eligible Veterans may be referred to resources for assistance with their military discharge status or to community agencies that can provide direct support.

Veterans can learn more about each of these programs by contacting the VA Maryland Health Care System’s Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program at 1-800-949-1003,
ext. 5506 or by visiting the VA’s Homeless Veterans website at www.va.gov/homeless/.

 

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