Michael T.’s Story
Michael joined The Army when he 19 or 20 years old (2008-2010), during OIE/OEF era. He was living in his own apartment at the time. He didn’t have a lot of advisement; being away from his family. He was doing construction and felt trapped. And thought the Army was a good option. He joined the army, had fun, made friends but got into some trouble (positive UA, did his article 15). Eventually, he redeemed himself, and got his deserved rank back. Michael was never able to evade the cloud he was under from his trouble and was ultimately pressured to leave the Army, 4 months prior to his commitment time being up. The nature of the trouble that he got into, caused Michael to receive an under honorable discharge. The under honorable discharge caused him to be excluded from the GI Bill, which is one of the main benefits, he saw, of joining the Army. He recalls that the unit he was assigned to in the army began to turn on him and begin to make things very uncomfortable. Michael continues to deal with the fact that he will never be eligible for that benefit and has been using other VA services, such as the GPD Program. Michael still believes that he is a great soldier and could be very effective in the Army, but feels that his general under honorable discharge would pose a huge problem for re-entry. AHI Case Management are focusing efforts on linking Michael up with an agency that can help him with this.Michael has been homeless for four years (2010-Present). He was living with his family, after his discharge but in his 20’s and he had to leave the family home. He has stayed at various shelters,McVet was his first stop.McVet is a military-styled, recovery-focused program, similar to PT in the army. Michael was not happy with the setting in Baltimore, MD. He transferred to another Baltimore Station, a shelter setting, which he recalls was very “bad.”Michael began to see to doubt that he would ever get out of shelter situations, so he left Baltimore. Michael got into SARP; where he had to embellish the truth to get the assistance/services/help that he needed. An alumnus of the SARP program encouraged Michael to say that he had a drug problem in order to get help. Michael states that if he has any hope, he believes that it will come from AHI, which his friend introduced him to. He feels that the program is providing him with the structure that he needs. Michael currently experiences nightmares associated with his experiences in the military and current circumstances of homelessness and helplessness. Michael is receiving help with the following: housing, mental health, employment, and VA benefits from AHI. Appealing his general under honorable discharge, which has hindered his ability to positively transition into civilian life, is one of his strongest goals. Michael would like to return to the Army and ultimately retire; infantry division is the area of choice. Michael still visits family, on holidays and doing what he can to become a self-sufficient, productive member of society.