VA Maryland Health Care System
VA Offers New Direction for Homeless Veteran
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.